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Emergency room at NARH may reopen in May

Updated: 04/24/2014 5:41 PM
Created: 04/24/2014 9:23 AM WNYT.com
By: WNYT Staff

SPRINGFIELD - Nurses and other former employees from North Adams Regional Hospital rallied in front of federal court in Springfield, MA just before a bankruptcy court hearing about the future of the hospital. The outcome was exactly what they wanted.

"I'm very happy, very happy to hear that they came to an agreement and it was a purchase for the entire building," said Karin Robert, who attended the protest.

The bankruptcy trustees for North Adams Regional Hospital reached an agreement with Berkshire Health Systems. That's the parent company of Berkshire Medical Center. The hospital's creditors, including Wells Fargo, to which they owe $30 million, have all agreed. But details of the purchase are not yet available to the public.

"They haven't actually signed the purchase and sales agreement. They're coming back next Wednesday to present that to the judge," Robert said.

However, that opened the door for Berkshire Medical Center to reopen the emergency department. North Adams has been without emergency care since the hospital shut down on March 28th. The community said it's a dangerous situation.

"It's too far for our impoverished community to have to travel 45 minutes for routine healthcare," Robert said.

Now they're hoping that Berkshire Medical Center will not only restore emergency care, but also a full service hospital that will bring jobs back to the area.

"They have come to an agreement on the purchase on the entire building, which is a positive because if you're going to purchase a hospital, and you're going to own the whole building, to support that building you're going to need other ancillary services," Robert said.

There's still a lot of work to be done. The sale has to be approved by the court and there's a 45 day waiting period after that for other possible bids. Berkshire medical center also needs a certificate of occupancy and inspections to reopen the emergency room.

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