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Northern Berkshire Pediatric Practice Stays Put, Grows

By Stephen Dravis
iBerkshires.com
12:16AM / Thursday, March 27, 2014
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The Ambulatory Care Center, built in 2001, is owned and operated by a private company and is not affected by the closure.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. -- Things were a little busier than usual at Northern Berkshire Pediatrics on Wednesday.
 
The good news is that the staff expects things to continue to be busy there for a good long time.
 
"We are getting a ton of calls," Northern Berkshire Pediatrics Practice Manager Susan King said on Wednesday evening. "I think initially folks weren't sure which practices were part of Northern Berkshire Healthcare and which were [not]."
 
Count Northern Berkshire Pediatrics among those that are not, although it, along with Williamstown Medical Associates and Hillcrest Dental operates in offices on the North Adams Regional Hospital campus.
 
Although the hospital's closure was announced on Tuesday, practices like Northern Berkshire Pediatrics remain unaffected.
 
The pediatric practice and its five physicians will continue to operate as usual, King said. And the business tried to get the word out with an outgoing message on its phone system and new text that was added to its home page.
 
"We are a financially and independently-owned private practice, and will continue to care for our patients during this difficult period," bold print added to the home page proclaims.
 
Despite those steps and a mention Tuesday evening in one of iBerkshires.com's stories, families served by the practice continued to wonder.
 
"Wherever we go, everyone is asking everyone in the practice about it," King said. "We're going to continue to be here, and we're going to continue to service them. We're going to continue to take care of the pediatric and adolescent patients in our community."
 
Although Northern Berkshire Pediatrics will lose the convenience of being next door to a hospital with all of is laboratory and radiological services, King said the practice is ready to move forward.
 
"We already have plans in place for those services," she said. "We have a courier who will be picking up our labs.
 
"It's not going to be too much different for us.  ... There's been a lot of activity between yesterday and today to make sure we have the services in place."
 
King stopped short of saying whether Northern Berkshire Healthcare's well-documented financial difficulties spurred Northern Berkshire Pediatrics to develop a "Plan B."
 
"We didn't know [the closure] was going to happen, but there's been a lot of uncertainty," King said. "We were just as surprised as everyone else when we heard the timing."
 
Likewise, she declined to say whether the hospital's closure could present an opportunity for other health-care providers in the area to expand. But expansion already is on the agenda at Northern Berkshire Pediatrics, which has a satellite office in Adams, hired a new nurse practitioner in January and plans to add a new doctor this summer, King said.
 
"As we move forward and things evolve, we'll see if there's more of a need in certain areas," she said. "The practice has been expanding anyway. ... Those things are happening and would be happening." 

Tags: doctors practice,   pediatrics,   

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