NARH closure caused by bad investment, report

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Updated: 5/06 9:41 pm

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. – A bad investment led to the closure of North Adams Regional Hospital, according to a new report based on financial reports and bankruptcy data from the IRS and Northern Berkshire Healthcare.

NARH closed in April 2014 leaving the city without any form of emergency care. The Massachusetts Nurses Association released new data during its weekly meeting Tuesday.

The report shows the hospital could have avoided closure had it not acquired massive debt.

The hospital’s board of trustees bought two transitional care and retirement facilities in 1999 for $25 million, but Northern Berkshire Healthcare sold the property in 2010 for $7 million leaving the hospital.

That $18 million dollar deficit is what resulted in the hospital closure, Mike Fader, MNA Director of Campaigns for Report, said.

Dr. Mike O’Brien worked at NARH. He said the purchase was intended for continuum care, and the idea was that patients would go from hospital care, to a nursing home for rehab, and then retirement facilities if needed.

“We thought it was a big investment, but we thought they knew what they were doing,” he said.

The report also states a hospital can be sustainable in North Adams.

“It is viable,” Fader said. “It’s viable fiscally, and it’s certainly necessary for the health of the community.”

North Adams paramedics said it has transported almost 270 patients from the area to another healthcare facility since the hospital closed.

Residents said they would like a community oversight board to prevent a similar situation if a full service hospital is restored.

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