Pushing to reopen some NARH services, Mass. Gov. Patrick says 75 may be rehired

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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. -- About 75 former employees may be hired to work in a variety of medical services that will be located at the former North Adams Regional Hospital, according to Gov. Deval Patrick.

It was unclear exactly which services would be involved, but Patrick said that state and local officials are working with the leadership of Berkshire Medical Center to reopen the emergency room, Visiting Nurses Association and hospice services, with the possibility of an OB/GYN office as well. He stressed that reopening the emergency room quickly is the priority.

To that end, license applications for both state and federal approvals would be signed and sent today, he said. The state-level application will be given priority processing, Patrick said, and his office will urge expediency in processing the application at the federal level.

He said that no specific date has been set for the reopening of emergency services at NARH, which closed on Friday.

"I hope it's days, but I don't control the approval process," he said. "I'll be trying to move it along on the state and federal level."

Patrick spoke with the press at about 11 a.m. outside the MCLA president's offices after meeting with state Sen. Benjamin B. Downing, state Rep. Gailanne Cariddi, North Adams Mayor Richard Alcombright and representatives of BMC.

Attorney General Martha Coakley has scheduled a press conference for 3 p.m. outside of city hall with the mayor, state lawmakers and other community stakeholders.

The governor said he was frustrated that the trustees announced the closing so abruptly last week. He said state officials had been working for the previous two weeks with the hospital to achieve a reduction in services and a transition to a more sustainable model.

"We had a deal," he said.


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