For Immediate Release - March 27, 2014

AG Secures Court Order to Halt Closure of North Adams Regional Hospital’s Emergency Services

Complaint Alleges Northern Berkshire Healthcare Violated Requirements for 90-Day Notification Prior to Closure

BOSTON – A judge has issued a temporary injunction pdf format of 2014-03-27-north-adams-regional-hospital-tro file size 3MB that will prevent the immediate closure of North Adams Regional Hospital’s emergency services, preventing a regional health crisis, Attorney General Martha Coakley announced today.

“As someone who grew up in North Adams, I know firsthand how critical this hospital is to the surrounding community,” AG Coakley said. “This injunction is the first step towards preventing an immediate health crisis for the area and keeping emergency services open. We are continuing to work closely with the administration and elected officials to help ensure continued access to critical health services for the entire community.”

Upon learning about the proposed rapid closure of the hospital, AG Coakley immediately began working with other leaders to explore all options available to prevent a regional health crisis for the area.  A complaint was filed this afternoon in Berkshire Superior Court alleging that Northern Berkshire Health Care (NBH) had failed to provide the 90-day notification prior to closure as required by law.  The complaint points out that if the hospital closes, the nearest emergency room available for the area would be a 30-45 minute drive away, creating immediate health and safety concerns for the region.

After a hearing Thursday afternoon, Superior Court Judge John A. Agostini ordered a temporary restraining order pdf format of 2014-03-27-north-adams-regional-hospital-tro file size 3MB which requires the emergency room and other essential health services remain open through at least April 3, dependent on the AG’s office filing a revised order with additional detail by Friday.  The judge specifically requested that the AG’s Office and Department of Public Health better define those emergency health services that should remain open during this period. 

A hearing on a permanent injunction has also been scheduled for Thursday, April 3 at 10:00 a.m. where the AG’s office will seek to keep emergency room services operating for at least 90 days during any ownership transition or closure. 

As part of its complaint, the AG’s office is seeking to prevent North Adams Regional Hospital (NARH) from closing its emergency department until it complies with the hospital closure requirements, or until Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield is able to license and operate a satellite emergency facility at NARH.  Berkshire Medical Center has been working closely with NARH to assist with the transfer of patients in the wake of the announced closure.

AG Coakley is committed to working with all stakeholders to ensure an orderly transition that preserves critical emergency health services for the region.

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