Statement From AG Coakley on North Adams Regional Hospital
BOSTON – Attorney General Martha Coakley today issued the following statement on North Adams Regional Hospital (NARH):
“I am deeply troubled by the rapid closure of this hospital. The harmful impact on the employees and on the accessibility of health care for the people of these communities is unacceptable. Our office will be conducting a full investigation into the actions of the board that led to this rapid closure. Our immediate concern now is the reinstitution of emergency services at NARH as quickly as possible.
"Since our Court hearing yesterday, we received further information that the closure of North Adams Regional Hospital was even more precipitous than previously understood.
"As a result, we have proposed a revised order , if allowed by the Court, which would no longer prohibit the closure of the emergency room at NARH. We have asked the court to enter a revised order that will maintain the ability for Berkshire Medical Center to access the hospital and help facilitate a prompt transition to BMC’s provision of emergency services at NARH.”
Since learning this week about the rapid closure of North Adams Regional Hospital, AG Coakley has been working with other leaders to explore all options available to prevent a regional health crisis for the area.
On Thursday afternoon, a judge issued a temporary injunction that stopped the immediate closure of North Adams Regional Hospital’s emergency services. The judge requested additional details be filed by Friday regarding the type of services and availability of funding to maintain its operation.
A complaint filed in Berkshire Superior Court alleged that Northern Berkshire Healthcare (NBH) had failed to provide the 90-day notification prior to closure as required by law. The complaint pointed 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 learning that no funding was available to maintain safe services and that critical staff and supplies were no longer available at the hospital, AG Coakley determined there was no choice but to revise the temporary order and allow the emergency room to close over the weekend. On Friday afternoon the judge accepted a revised order.
The AG’s office is currently working with all stakeholders to reopen emergency services as soon as possible. This includes working with Berkshire Medical Center which is seeking to operate the North Adams emergency room as a satellite facility to its main hospital in Pittsfield.
AG Coakley today also directed her Non-Profit Organizations/Charities Division to conduct a full investigation into the actions of the board of trustees that led to this rapid closure with little notice to employees or the community.
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