NARH emergency department to close despite injunction

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. – Despite a temporary injunction stopping the immediate closure of North Adams Regional Hospital's emergency services, the Massachusetts Attorney General said Friday that the emergency room will close over the weekend.

A judge issued a temporary injunction Thursday stopping the immediate closure of NARH's emergency services but requested additional details be filed by Friday regarding the type of services and availability of funding to maintain its operation.

AG Martha Coakley said there was no choice but revise the temporary order because her office learned there was no funding available to maintain safe services and that critical staff and supplies were no longer available at the hospital.

The AG's office said it is currently working with all stakeholders to reopen the emergency services as soon as possible. This includes working with Berkshire Medical Center which is seeking to operate the North Adams emergency room as a satellite facility to its main hospital in Pittsfield.

With the closing of NARH, the nearest emergency room available for the area would be 30 to 45 minutes away.

A complaint was filed in Berkshire Superior Court alleging that Northern Berkshire Healthcare had failed to provide the 90-day notification prior to closure as required by law. Staff at NARH learned of the closure Tuesday.

AG Coakley also directed her Non-Profit Organizations/Charities Division to conduct a full investigation into the actions of the Board of Trustees that led to this rapid closure with little notice to employees or the community.

AG Martha Coakley issued the following statement Friday on North Adams Regional Hospital:

“I am deeply troubled by the rapid closure of this hospital. The harmful impact on the employees and on the accessibility of health care for the people of these communities is unacceptable. Our office will be conducting a full investigation into the actions of the board that led to this rapid closure. Our immediate concern now is the reinstitution of emergency services at NARH as quickly as possible.

“Since our Court hearing yesterday, we received further information that the closure of North Adams Regional Hospital was even more precipitous than previously understood.

“As a result, we have proposed a revised order, if allowed by the Court, which would no longer prohibit the closure of the emergency room at NARH. We have asked the court to enter a revised order that will maintain the ability for Berkshire Medical Center to access the hospital and help facilitate a prompt transition to BMC's provision of emergency services at NARH.” 

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