Statement from AG Coakley on Sale of North Adams Regional Hospital
BOSTON – Attorney General Martha Coakley today issued the following statement on the approved sale of the assets of the former North Adams Regional Hospital (NARH) to Berkshire Medical Center out of bankruptcy court in Springfield today:
“The sale of North Adams Regional Hospital is a substantial step toward maintaining and improving essential health care in these communities. After the hospital’s abrupt closure and subsequent bankruptcy filing, our office worked with stakeholders, the court, and members of state government including Governor Patrick, Secretary John Polanowicz, Commissioner Cheryl Bartlett, Senator Ben Downing, Representative Gailanne Cariddi, and Mayor Richard Alcombright to ensure a proper and prompt transition. We are grateful for Berkshire Medical Center’s dedication in this process that will continue access to safe emergency services for local residents.”
Since learning in March about the rapid closure of North Adams Regional Hospital, AG Coakley worked with other leaders to explore all options available to prevent a regional health crisis for the area.
On March 27, AG Coakley filed a complaint in Berkshire Superior Court alleging 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. Based on that complaint, a judge issued a temporary injunction that stopped the immediate closure of North Adams Regional Hospital’s emergency services.
After learning that the hospital would be unable to maintain safe services at the hospital and that critical staff and supplies were no longer available, AG Coakley worked with all stakeholders to ensure vital emergency room and other essential health services continued in the community during any ownership transition.
After a bankruptcy filing by NBH and the North Adams Regional Hospital Board in April, Berkshire Medical Center prepared for and began operating the North Adams emergency room as a satellite facility to its main hospital in Pittsfield.
AG Coakley 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. That investigation is ongoing.