The following is a letter submitted to Tim Jones, CEO and president of Northern Berkshire Healthcare, by representatives of the local Massachusetts Nurses Association.
On behalf of the registered nurses of North Adams Regional Hospital, with the full support of our union and professional association, the Massachusetts Nurses Association/National Nurses United, we are writing to express our strong opposition to the planned closing of the Greylock Pavilion. We believe this closing represents an abrogation of this institution's mission of providing comprehensive services to all members of our community and a failure to provide state-mandated care parity for those suffering with acute mental illness and substance abuse issues.
As stated on our hospital web site, "North Adams Regional Hospital offers complete inpatient psychiatric services at Greylock Pavilion. Greylock Pavilion is now known throughout Western Massachusetts for its effective treatment programs, offering secure high quality inpatient hospitalization for the adult in need of acute, short-term psychiatric treatment. We provide a safe, therapeutic milieu, encouraging patient and family involvement. Our philosophy is based on the patient's total needs - both physical and emotional."
The nurses of NARH are proud of this program and what it offers to the most vulnerable in our community, and we are appalled that our administration is now proposing to abolish this program and to go back on the commitment to meet our patients "total needs – both physical and emotional." We are concerned that this decision is being made in the midst of a growing shortage of psychiatric beds and services throughout the commonwealth, and Western Massachusetts in particular. The loss of this program will no doubt result in psychiatric patients languishing for hours, if not several days, waiting for appropriate care and treatment in our and other facility's emergency department, while other patients will go without treatment altogether, leaving them to suffer on our streets, in our homeless shelters or, as is the case throughout the state, in our corrections system.
As registered nurses, we have a professional obligation to advocate for our patients to ensure that they receive the care they deserve. In keeping with that obligation, we intend to utilize whatever means and resources are necessary to challenge this decision for the good of our patients and our community.
We sincerely hope that you will reconsider this decision and we look forward to an opportunity to meet with you to discuss alternatives to this closure so that we all can continue our mission of meeting our "patients’'total needs – both physical and emotional."
MNA Chairman Ruth O'Hearn, registered nurse
North Adams Regional Hospital MNA Committee