The VNA is still unpacking into its new location in the Doctor's Building at the hospital. They got a big welcome from their colleagues at NBH, a few who have been dropping by to see the changes to the former storage area.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The VNA & Hospice of Northern Berkshire is settling into its new quarters on the campus of North Adams Regional Hospital.
A parade of filing cabinets were making their way down a cluttered hallway of boxes and office equipment on Thursday as the move into the ground floor of the Doctor's Building was wrapping up.
"Everything has really been flowing smoothly," said Executive Director Wendy Dubis. "The hope is that by the end of next week we'll be all settled in."
The health clinics it hosts were canceled this week and will start again Tuesday, March 27, in the new location. The other services haven't stopped, however.
"We designed it so we can keep working," said Dubis. "We left half of the business office there and moved half here first. ... Other than problems with the new phones it's going really smooth."
The Visiting Nurse Association, an affiliate of Northern Berkshire Healthcare, is leaving behind its spacious quarters on Curran Highway to relocate into an area that's a third of the space.
Dubis said the new location is a better fit and more in line with the way the agency currently operates. The century-old VNA has its roots in a number of local visiting nurse associations and merged with Comprehensive Care in 1997, when it also became part of NBH. Back then, there were 200 employees in the Curran Highway building; now, there's about 63.
Most of the work is being done out in the field, in people's homes, said Dubis, by nurses and aides armed with laptops. The new location is equipped with carrells and wireless Internet for them to do what recording needs to be done.
The agency provides home health aides and skilled nursing, support groups, health screenings and clinics, rehabilitation services and new-mother education and in-home visits.
Dubis said clinics will be run at the same time and by the same people; the only change is the location. Clients will enter through the new Ambulatory Care Center and take a right into the main corridor of the Doctor's Building. The VNA has taken up one whole side and half the other of the first floor space.
Free health clinics every Tuesday and Thursday from 3 to 4 p.m.
• Heights and Weights • Blood Pressure • Glucose Screening • Lead Testing • Tuberculosis Testing • Allergy Shots • Pneumonia Shots • Oxygen Saturation Levels • Health and Wellness Information
"We may see the doctors' utilize our clinics more," said Dubis, who thinks the new space is a little more convenient for clients. "And I think we'll be seen as more of a member of the Northern Berkshire Healthcare family."
While there are offices being used on the second and third floor, the first floor had been used for storage and as access from the Clark House to the ACC.
"When they first showed it to me, I thought no way," laughed Dubis. "Now, this is beautiful."
Almost everything was done in house by the hospital's facilities crew. Darryl Smith, facilities director, said the area was completely redesigned and reconstructed to accommodate the VNA. Facilities also has a workshop in the space.
The move is part of a consolidation of NBH holdings the health care system is pursuing to fix its financal health. The VNA building at 535 Curran Highway is for sale. Also on the market is the former Women's Exchange in Williamstown that once helped fund the VNA in its early years. Northern Berkshire Family Practice, which was also expected relocate to the hospital campus, will stay where it is. After crunching the numbers, hospital officials determined it was better to leave the practice in its building near the Williamstown line.
Dubis said the new location doesn't affect VNA & Hospice of Northern Berkshire's mission to aid in the well-being of area residents.
"We're still here. We're still doing what we have been doing."
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