BHS Launches Nurse Line to Support Patient Access to Care

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PITTSFIELD, Mass — Berkshire Health Systems (BHS) announced the launch of the BHS Nurse Line, a new service that offers community members access to a free, easy-to-use phone line, staffed by experienced Berkshire Health Systems nurses. 
 
Patients can call 855-855-2000 from 8am-4pm Monday through Friday, and the BHS Nurse Line team will help patients determine whether they should rush to the nearest Emergency Department, go to BHS Urgent Care, schedule a virtual visit, or call to make an appointment with an office-based primary or specialty care provider.
 
"During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, we used the BHS COVID hotline to help thousands of people in the Berkshires get tested, treated, and vaccinated," said Darlene Rodowicz, BHS President and CEO. "We found that this service was incredibly effective in reaching patients across our community, and we are committed to advancing this very personal, patient-focused model of care for the region. We understand that illness or minor injuries can happen any time, and finding the right care can sometimes feel overwhelming – we created the BHS Nurse Line to meet this challenge head on."
 
Robert Shearer, Administrative Director of BHS Urgent Care will manage the Nurse Line and lead the team of dedicated nurses aiming to provide each caller the support they need from basic health questions, to act as a bridge for patients in-between primary care providers by helping them schedule Urgent Care visits, either in-person or virtually.
 
"Berkshire Health Systems is the leading provider of care across the region, and we are proud to serve patients across Berkshire County and beyond," said James Lederer, MD, BHS Chief Medical Officer and Chief Quality Officer. "The BHS Nurse Line is an important part of our commitment to our mission—to advance health and wellness for everyone in our community, and we are excited to see how this new service will make navigating certain health care situations as easy as picking up the phone."
 
In addition, the clinicians on BHS Nurse Line will help fill other important roles in the health system, including following up with patients about certain types of test results, and providing guidance and support for the more than 1,000 patients community who rely on Warfarin, a blood-thinning medication commonly prescribed for cardiac care.
 
For more information on the BHS Nurse Line, visit berkshirehealthsystems.org/nurseline.

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Toy Library Installed at Onota Lake

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Feel free to use or leave a toy at Onota Lake's newest infrastructure meant to foster community and benefit kids.

Burbank Park now has a toy library thanks to Wahconah Regional High School senior Alexandra Bills. Located along the wall at the beach area, the green and blue structure features two shelves with sand toys that can be used to enhance children's visits.

The Parks Commission supported Bills' proposal in February as part of her National Honors Society individual service project and it was installed this month. Measuring about 4 feet wide and 5.8 feet tall, it was built by the student and her father with donated materials from a local lumber company.

Friends and family members provided toys to fill the library such as pails, shovels, Frisbees, and trucks.

"I wanted to create a toy library like the other examples in Berkshire County from the sled library to the book libraries," she told the commission in February.

"But I wanted to make it toys for Onota Lake because a lot of kids forget their toys or some kids can't afford toys."

Bills lives nearby and will check on the library weekly — if not daily — to ensure the operation is running smoothly.  A sign reading "Borrow-Play-Return" asks community members to clean up after themselves after using the toys.

It was built to accommodate children's heights and will be stored during the winter season.

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