Group Still Fights For Health Care Services
The Berkshire Eagle reports seven people sat in a semicircle inside a small room at the Northern Berkshire Community Television offices on Union Street.
It has been five years since the closure of North Adams Regional Hospital, and this group, the North County Cares Coalition, has held an event in the community hospital's memory each March.
Each year, the gathering gets smaller.
But to this core group, a full-service hospital with inpatient services is still something worth fighting for in the Northern Berkshire.
The group formed in the immediate aftermath of the hospital's closure March 28, 2014, which resulted in more than 500 jobs disappearing nearly overnight and rattling the Northern Berkshire community.
With only three days' notice before the hospital's closure, unions that represented the hospital's nurses and staff decried the closure as illegal. A tense standoff ensued between hospital management and concerned residents, who joined union leadership and hospital employees in a last-ditch effort to keep the hospital open. But they could not stop Northern Berkshire Healthcare, the hospital's parent company, from filing for bankruptcy and shutting its doors.
In its wake, Berkshire Health Systems, the parent company of Berkshire Medical Center, acquired the former North Adams Regional site.
But the North Adams campus does not have what the advocates have been calling for since 2014: inpatient beds.
The coalition continues to advocate for enhanced addiction treatment services in the Northern Berkshire. And they lament how health care services continue to be consolidated not just locally, but across the state and country.