Northern Berkshire Healthcare filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy Thursday morning, throwing efforts to restore emergency services in North County into uncertainty.
Judge John J. Agostini continued a temporary restraining order on North Adams Regional Hospital to restore emergency services through the auspices of Berkshire Medical Center. The restraining order is continued until a Tuesday hearing in Northampton. Read More ...
U.S. Bankruptcy Court Prioritizes Emergency Services
A U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge agreed on Monday that reopening emergency services in North Berkshire was a priority.
Stakeholders in the process — including court-appointed Trustee Harold B. Murphy, attorneys for the state and Berkshire Health Systems and major creditor Wells Fargo Bank — assured Boroff that they were in agreement.
There is a question, however, on where those services could be provided. Read more ...
Patrick on Reopening
Gov. Deval Patrick is fast-tracking Berkshire Medical Center's application to reopen the emergency room at North Adams Regional Hospital.
"What we are trying to do right now is to get at least the emergency department reopened, to continue the hospice and VNA services and to buy some time so there can be a thoughtful analysis of what should come," Patrick said.
But even as the last patients were escorted out with tears, the unions at Northern Berkshire Healthcare were urging the community to keep the pressure on elected officials in Boston to do what they could to save the medical services critical to the rural region.
"I'm here because the effect of losing not only over 500 jobs, but of losing a hospital, has a ripple effect that's unreal in our community," said Jeanne Mathews, pointing to the loss of backup for oral surgeons and health-care programs in the schools. "The trickle down, I don't know if people will really fathom until it happens." Read More ...
Open Letter from
Board of Trustees
As trustees of Northern Berkshire Healthcare, we share your deep sense of sadness on this day.
We are heartbroken that so many of our friends and neighbors are losing their jobs, and that many more members of our community are facing disruptions in their medical care. Read More ...
After more than 125 years of providing medical care to the Northern Berkshire community, the full-service hospital could not adapt itself to the changing health care environment despite a number of last-minute treatments to staunch the flow of financial losses.
Some 530 full- and part-time employees will lose their jobs, but the hospital's closure will reverberate throughout the region, affecting thousands more who have depended on its care for generations. Read More ....
An accident that killed or injured 35 workmen in the Hoosac Tunnel in 1882 emphasized the need for hospital. The building was opened in 1885, largely through donations, and some 1,500 people toured it on opening day.
Northern Berkshire Healthcare officials have been warning for years that the hospital and its affiliated groups are financially fragile. A spending spree around the beginning of the century saddled NBH with what in a few short years would be underperforming properties like the "Sweets" - Sweetwood and Sweet Brook.
In 2005, Cambio Health Solutions was brought in to put in new practices and solve a $2 million deficit.
Since then, NBH has seen its fortunes rise slightly but mostly fall, including defaulting on $40 million in bonds and declaring Chapter 11 in 2011. It also trimmed costs, consolidated and sold off properties. And laid off or eliminated nearly 300 jobs over a decade.
Hospital Closure Leaves North County Wondering
A query on Facebook of how the closure will affect residents, resulted in a flood of "shocked" and "heartbroken" posts by community members unsure of how they will get the medical care they need. Read more ...
Local Reactions Continue Over Hospital's Closing
"If you want do anything, you have to fight. If you don't get hundreds of people, it means they really don't care," Wilber said. "If people want it to be open, they've got to be willing to fight to keep it open." Read more ...
Looking for Solutions
State Officials Scrambling
to Keep Emergency Services
State and local officials are scrambling to find a solution to the financial woes of NBH.
"My understanding is that Gov. Patrick basically told his secretaries two words: 'Fix it,'" Mayor Richard Alcombright told a meeting of local clergy on Wednesday. "Hopefully things will be able to be restored to some level."
On Beacon Hill, Sen. Benjamin B. Downing, D-Pittsfield, and Rep. Gailanne Cariddi have been brainstorming options with legislative leaders as Friday's deadline approaches for the closure of the hospital.
Berkshire Medical Center has established a 24/7 "CareLine" for Northern Berkshire patients and health care providers to answer questions about scheduling and/or access to health-care services. Callers may use the toll-free number, 855-262-5465, day or night.
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