NORTH ADAMS, Mass. – Members of the North Adams community gathered together Friday to discuss what they should do next after the North Adams Regional Hospital closed for good.
Protestors against NARH shutting down had previously planned to peacefully demonstrate Friday outside the facility. However, after they learned Northern Berkshire Healthcare was misleading the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, their focus shifted.
Protestors then entered the building and went up the stairs to find the CEO and demand answers.
Robin Simonetti is the co-chair of the Massachusetts Nursing Association.
“They kept saying that they didn't have enough supplies,” she said. “Then we would hear from someone else that there were enough supplies, like we weren't going to have enough oxygen. We have enough oxygen up there for a month.”
Later Friday, the Massachusetts Attorney General's office returned to Berkshire Superior Court for the second day in a row. Their goal was to better define what services NARH's emergency department needed to stay open during the temporary restraining order.
It was later concluded that NARH would be forced to close over the weekend due to a lack of supply.
The hospital released a statement saying, “Patients needing emergency care are directed to Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield and Southwestern Vermont Medical Center in Bennington, Vermont.”
North Adams Police evacuated all personnel and occupants from the hospital. Afterward, elected officials, workers and community members gathered at American Legion Hall to discuss what the plan would be moving forward.
“I don't think we can look backward,” Senator Ben Downing said. “Certainly, there will be a time for that, for determining what went wrong. But we need to make sure we're building a hospital that's sustainable, that will serve the 13,000 people in North Adams and the 27,000 people in the surrounding community.”
Berkshire Medical Center said it must first receive the Department of Public Health's approval to operate a satellite facility before it can officially take over at NARH.