North Adams Regional Hospital closing Friday morning

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. – Protests continue at North Adams Regional Hospital as all services except for the emergency room shut down Friday. 

Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley went before a judge in Berkshire Superior Court on Thursday trying to prevent the closure of the hospital.

The judge issued a temporary injunction preventing the closure of the hospital's emergency services until April 3. This means a hearing on a permanent injunction has been scheduled for the same day the Attorney General's Office will look to keep emergency room services operating for at least 90 days during any ownership transition or closure. 

Demonstrators stormed the CEO's office at the hospital Friday. Police back up was called and officers asked people to leave.

Northern Berkshire Healthcare, the company that owns the hospital, said they will comply with the court order. They said they are working to get a staff together and ensure that they have the necessary supplies, neither of which they say are guaranteed.

The judge has also appointed Berkshire Medical center in Pittsfield to help with operations at North Adams Regional Hospital to provide emergency services.

Patients were escorted out of the hospital one by one just before 10 a.m. Friday. Nurses embraced their patients as they said their goodbyes. Demonstrators, including union members and residents stood outside applauding each worker and patient that walked out of the hospital doors.

“It impacts the community that we are trying to go to school in that we are connected to so it's very important for students as it is to the rest of these community,”said student Brian Fitzpatrick.

“We make a living supporting the community, they support us we support them. They need a hospital, we need a hospital and we need good jobs in the city,”said Peter Robare, Union President of Local 1781.

In the meantime, the AG's Office is working to file a permanent injunction to keep emergency services operating for at least 90 days during any ownership transition or closure.

Attorney General 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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