Sudden Hospital Closure Stuns MA Community; More Coming
Governor Deval Patrick (D) and Attorney General Martha Coakley (D), a North Adams native, were in the community on Tuesday to fashion a way to allow Pittsfield's Berkshire Health System, which runs a 302-bed community hospital, to reopen and operate the now-shuttered emergency department at NARH.
A letter from Patrick to the community late Tuesday acknowledged that it could take 10 days before emergency services might be restored.
Meetings, church vigils, protests, legal actions, and uncertainty follow years of financial problems at NARH. But workers, many of whom toiled there for decades, didn't see this coming. Neither did members of the community. Patrick said a deal to keep the hospital open looked imminent—until the very end.
Storming the CEO's Office
A letter to the community from the hospital board on Friday stiffly acknowledges "difficult circumstances" and thanks staff. Union members reportedly tried to storm the office of CEO Timothy Jones. They were stopped by police.
Coakley says she'll press for an investigation into the NARH board and its actions. But whether the board acted properly or not is almost beside the point. This hospital has been in financial straits for years. Reports are swirling that it will soon file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection.
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