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BHS president and CEO Darlene Rodowicz poses Thursday in one of the new patient rooms at what will become North Adams Regional Hospital.
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The new patient rooms have state-of-the-art equipment and new furniture. The nursing staff had input in the design and selections.
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The nursing stations, left, face the glass doors of the private rooms.
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Staff lead tours through the hospital wing.
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People enter the lobby during the community open house at BMC's North Adams Campus.

North Adams Hospital's Revamped 2 North Welcomes Community

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
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BHS President Darlene Rodowicz, left, and Lou Ann Quinn, nursing director of surgical services, the 'face of NARH.'
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The community turned out in force on Thursday night to see the changes made for the rebirth of North Adams Regional Hospital. 
 
"Absolutely beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. We've needed it for a long time. I'm happy to see it here," said Patricia Clairmont of Adams. "We used this hospital a lot for our X-rays and things like that."
 
Clairmont, who grew up on North Adams, was born in the "old" hospital and her children in this one. 
 
Her comments were echoed throughout 2 North as dozens of people walked through the wing to look at the refurbished hospital rooms ready and waiting for patients. 
 
"It's so exciting to be part of bringing this back to our community, and the support in the community, it's the excitement and it is their hospital," said Laurie Lamarre, vice president of North Adams Regional who had worked at the hospital before it closed. "It's great to bring expanded services ... you hear all those stories about transportation, and how difficult getting down to Pittsfield. And so to be able to provide care here, and expanded care, is great."
 
The upgrade is part of a $2.8 million investment by Berkshire Health Systems to prepare the building to resume operations as a critical care access hospital.
 
North Adams Regional Hospital closed 10 years ago this March when its health-care system went bankrupt. It was purchased by Berkshire Medical Center, which restored emergency and medical services to the campus and, last year, was able to pursue a "critical access hospital" designation that allowed it to reopen.
 
Darlene Rodowicz, BHS president and CEO, has been cautious about an actual date for opening since its pending several licensures and certifications, but believes it will be admitting its first patients by the end of this month. 
 
The facility's gone through a number of inspections, including a three-day survey last week for licensure. It's also waiting for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency and Massachusetts Controlled Substances approvals to be able to dispense meds. 
 
At that point, the newly opened hospital will have to take in two patients each for a 48-hour stay. The Department of Public Health, on behalf the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, will do final review and the hospital will be cleared for federal reimbursements. 
 
"We want to work out our bugs and our processes in a new building," Rodowicz said. "So three or four patients, I think initially, and they'll be inpatients and observations. For the survey, they have to be inpatients for a two-night stay."
 
Senior Director of Clinical Operations Robert Boebert said they'll also be doing some internal drills, running several "patients" through the complete process from admission to surgery or treatment to discharge to billing, including with Northern Berkshire EMS.
 
"I think one of the important things is that you have the multidisciplinary team, right, so from the lab to pharmacy to therapy — it will be here to support and address anything that has a failure at that point," he said.
 
"Every little detail that we can think up on how we bring patients here and how we discharge patients, just going to go through process."
 
Admissions will be slowly expanded to up to 10 though the hospital's designation as a critical-care access facility allows for 25 beds. The rooms on 2 North, which had two- and four-bed wards as well as intensive care, have been converted into 18 private rooms, most with bathrooms.
 
Each room also has a window, new headwall systems (architectural features that carry electric, gas and other needs) and computers, the capability for telemonitoring, and large sliding glass doors that block noise for the patient but allow for observation by medical staff. The nurses' station runs parallel to the rooms and new elements include a charting station for doctors, an accessible shower, storage and refreshed visitor's lounge. 
 
The entire floor's been freshened with flooring, paint, wallcoverings and woodwork and the elevator closest to the wing (closed for several years) has been replaced. 
 
Hidee Taylor, a certified nursing assistant, is new to the hospital but excited to begin working in the unit. She'll be the unit assistant, a combination of administrative and clinical functions, and has plans to become a nurse.
 
"It's a beautiful floor. I think everybody's going to be wonderfully cared for," she said. "I'm super excited about my new position."
 
For Lou Ann Quinn, described by Rodowicz as the "face of NARH," it's a chance to see the hospital return before she retires.
 
"This is exciting. This is just everything to me," said Quinn, nursing director of surgical services. "When the hospital closed, I had opportunities to go anywhere. And I chose to stay with my community and I was honored that Berkshire Medical Center hired me to kind of be that transition person. ...
 
"It's an honor to see this process happen because I think we're going to do the best for the patients."

Tags: NARH,   

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MountainOne Marks 175 Years Since Founding

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff

Board Chairman Daniel Bosley calls the meeting to order.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — MountainOne ended a successful 175th anniversary year approaching $1 billion in assets and a future that looks to be "busy."
 
"So with all this you might say we're busy, except for MountainOne, we're not allowed to say we're busy. You've got to work, you're supposed to be busy, right?" said President and CEO Robet Fraser after ticking off a list of positives. "So we're not busy. We're fulfilled, and this year is going to be incredibly fulfilling."
 
The banking institution held its demisemiseptcentennial, or maybe it was a septaquintaquinquecentennial, business meeting on Wednesday night. Whatever the preferred Latin is for 175 years, MountainOne was marking a significant milestone with more than 120 guests and bank members at Norad Mill and another grouping at the Weathervane Golf Course in Weymouth. 
 
Fraser, speaking via livestream from the South Shore, joked that "we have this unique business model where we give you the money — but you have to give it back."
 
That's been the standard since April 1848 when Isaac Hodges, Thomas Robinson and William Brayton founded the North Adams Savings Bank on Main Street. 
 
The first merger occurred in 1962 between North Adams Savings and Hoosac Savings banks, later becoming simply Hoosac Bank in 1998; Hoosac acquired True North Financial and Coakley, Pierpan, Dolan & Collins Insurance a year later; in 2002, MountainOne Financial Partners is formed as holding company for Hoosac and Williamstown Savings and MountainOne begins its South Shore adventure with the merger of South Coastal Bank; a year later, all three banks change their names to MountainOne. The investment and insurance arms also come under the MountainOne moniker and the newest affiliate, a Longmeadow insurance agency, was acquired in February.
 
"When I think about MountainOne, I think of one organization that was comprised of three different banks, two insurance agencies and investment division," said Fraser. "And we've been able to come together and be incredibly successful working with each other. 
 
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