Bid for NARH accepted by bankruptcy judge

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Updated: 7/31 6:19 pm

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. – A sale of North Adams Regional Hospital was awarded to the only bidder Thursday by a U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge.

The hospital's closing left more than 500 people without work, and left an entire region without a hospital or emergency room. Since then, Berkshire Medical Center has opened a satellite emergency facility at the North Adams site.

A bankruptcy judge reviewed the bids Thursday, and approved the only bid, submitted by Berkshire Medical Center's parent company, Berkshire Health Systems, for $4 million. A 15-day appeals process will follow, and if there are no objections, a sale will commence.

But BMC officials say that doesn't mean they'll reopen the entire facility or provide all of the services it once did.

BMC and that state are now conducting a Stroudwater Associates study, which focuses on a thorough examination of and recommendations for financially sustainable, long-term healthcare services in Northern Berkshire.

The study was commissioned by Governor Deval Patrick and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Its recommendations will play a part in helping Berkshire Medical Center to determine the most appropriate role for BMC in providing healthcare services in Northern Berkshire.

Northern Berkshire Healthcare, which previously owned NARH, filed for chapter 7 bankruptcy earlier this year. Court documents revealed it is $30 million in debt.

Statement from the Massachusetts Nurses Association:

"We see today’s development as yet another important step on the road to the nurses’ and the community’s ultimate goal, which is the restoration of a full-service hospital to protect the health of the residents of Northern Berkshire County. We're optimistic because Berkshire Medical Center operates Fairview Hospital in Southern Berkshire County and understands the need for hospital services in both South County and North County. We intend to continue to work with our allies in the community, local, state and federal policymakers and BMC to achieve this goal."

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