North County Cares Coalition Holds Press Conference/Rally on Feb. 11 To Call for the Restoration of a Full Service Hospital in Northern Berkshire County
Where: North Adams City Hall, 10 Main St. North Adams*
When: Wednesday, February 11 at 5 p.m.
Concerned community members from Greater North Adams, who have been meeting weekly since the illegal closing of North Adams Regional Hospital last March, have formed the “North County Cares Coalition” (NCCC) in an ongoing campaign to ensure access to needed inpatient and outpatient health care services for the residents of Northern Berkshire County. As 37,000 residents living in the region continue to go without desperately needed access to inpatient services, the group will hold a press conference and rally outside the entrance to Berkshire Medical Center North, the site of the former North Adams Regional Hospital, to present data from a new report that clearly shows the need for, and sustainability of, a full service hospital to meet the health needs of this region.
“All of us care about health care and are committed to ensuring the availability of all needed services in our community, said Jim Lipa, a longtime resident of North Adams and founding member of the North County Cares Coalition. “The Massachusetts Department of Health and Human Services’-commissioned Stroudwater Report has confirmed that the health care needs of Northern Berkshire County residents are the greatest in the Commonwealth and has confirmed the need for 18 – 21 acute inpatient beds to meet the needs of northern Berkshire County residents. The report we will present on Wednesday builds on those findings with more current and more accurate data to clearly show that a full service hospital is viable and must be restored if we are to meet the needs of these communities.”
According to Richard “Dick” Dassatti, a North Adams resident and member of the coalition, “We are calling on all local, state and federal public officials and Berkshire Health Systems to provide our neighborhoods and our community with full inpatient services. The neighborhoods of North Berkshire County require and deserve the same quality and array of services offered by South Berkshire County’s Fairview Hospital regardless of any study, federal designation, or whether it is profitable. Berkshire Health Systems and our government have the resources necessary to provide the residents of North Berkshire equal access to a full service hospital as the finding of this report verify
The NCCC’s call for restoration of a full service hospital for Northern Berkshire County has broad based support with the city and town councils of seven communities in Northern Berkshire County passing resolutions last fall to that effect, including North Adams, Adams, Cheshire, Clarksburg, Egremont, Great Barrington and Williamstown.
The Report to be presented was developed by researchers at the Massachusetts Nurses Association using the most currently available state and federal data. Reporters who wish to obtain an embargoed copy of the report on the morning of the press conference should contact David Schildmeier at the number above or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Please note, the location of the event was changed to City Hall due to concerns about snow removal and parking