Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick is in North Adams, talking about ongoing plans for North Adams Regional Hospital, closed since Friday afternoon.
Governor Patrick is still meeting with local lawmakers and leaders from the state’s public health department and Berkshire Medical Center at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. Patrick says BMC has signed an application allowing the Pittsfield-based healthcare company to operate a satellite emergency facility at North Adams Regional Hospital.
The application still needs to be approved by both the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and at the federal level. Patrick says his administration is working quickly to get the application through the state while the area’s federal delegation - Senators Elizabeth Warren and Edward Markey, along with Congressman Richard Neal work on the federal side.
Patrick says he doesn’t have an exact timeframe of when the process will be completed, but is hopefully that it will happen within a week, maybe even days from now. In the discussions he’s had, the Democrat says the expectation is to have a medical facility in North Adams, but to what capacity is unknown. The governor says independent help may need to brought in to help decide what the facility will have. He says it will most likely include emergency services, Hospice, VNA, imaging services and potentially OB/GYN.
Patrick announced BMC has hired about 75 former employees of Northern Berkshire Healthcare to work at the satellite facility. The parent company of North Adams Regional Hospital announced it was closing the hospital and filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy last Tuesday. The move has left 530 jobless. The hospital has been closed since Friday afternoon after Attorney General Martha Coakley reversed a temporary restraining order to keep emergency services open, citing a lack of funds.
Coakley is scheduled to be at North Adams City Hall at 3 this afternoon. Community members and former employees of NBH plan to meet at 5 o’clock today at the North Adams American Legion, the latest in a series of gatherings.