NARH meeting in effort to restore full service hospital

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Updated: 4/08 9:31 pm

NORTH ADAMS, Mass.— Residents, workers and community leaders gathered to hear updates on the North Adams Regional Hospital on Tuesday.

In court, Berkshire Medical Center said it remains committed to opening a satellite emergency facility. However, the hospital might not be the best place for it.

North Adams lost its hospital and emergency room about a week and a half ago.

"Very sad. This is where I was born," North Adams resident Karen Birch said.

Northern Berkshire Healthcare, which owns the hospital, filed chapter 7 bankruptcy. Court documents reveal it is $30 million in debt. That decision left more than 500 people out of work and thousands in the community without a hospital.

"It's finding new doctors when you're used to the doctor you had and now you have to go and find a new doctor. That's kind of scary, the ER," Birch said. "I mean who knows if something bad happens, is there going to be ambulances up here that are going to be able to come and help people out? That's a big uncertainty. I don't know."

Attorney General Martha Coakley has brought the hospital owners to court arguing that they were supposed to give 90 days' notice.

A judge has now appointed a trustee to handle the bankruptcy and selling off of its assets. An injunction remains in place.

The Massachusetts Nurses Association organizes the community forums. They remain optimistic that not just the emergency room but the entire hospital will reopen.

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