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Firefighters and Caregivers Serving Nashoba Valley Medical Center to Hold Press Conference on Monday, June 3 to Call on Governor Healey, the Legislature and Attorney General to Commit to Preserving This and All Hospitals Impacted by the Steward Crisis


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE  May 31, 2024                 

 Contact:   David Schildmeier (781) 249-0430
                    David Greenwood (978) 490-9390

                   Audra Sprague, RN (978) 502-5591                                                                 

Firefighters and Caregivers Serving Nashoba Valley Medical Center to Hold Press Conference on Monday, June 3 to Call on Governor Healey, the Legislature and Attorney General to Commit to Preserving This and All Hospitals Impacted by the Steward Crisis

Loss of Ayer-based NVMC will cause dangerous delays in accessing life-saving care and will overwhelm already overburdened ambulance services for the residents living in the rural towns served by this vital provider

With more than 200,000 residents served by nine hospitals currently owned by Steward, communities remain in the dark on the state’s long-term plan to protect the future of care across the Commonwealth.

AYER, MA – On Monday, June 3, the same day a judge in Houston, TX will hold a pivotal hearing on what could be the largest hospital-system bankruptcy in US history, a coalition of local firefighters and caregivers who serve and/or work at Ayer-based Nashoba Valley Medical Center, will hold a press conference calling on leaders of our state government to do whatever is necessary to preserve this hospital, as well as eight other hospitals threatened with closure by the financial crisis engineered by Steward Healthcare. 

The press conference was organized and will be jointly hosted by David Greenwood, President of the International Association of Firefighters Local 2544 Ayer Fire Department and Audra Sprague, RN, co-chair of the Massachusetts Nurses Association’s Local Bargaining Unit for the nurses of Nashoba Valley Medical Center. 

What:   Press Conference by Firefighters and Caregivers to Save Nashoba Vally Medical Center

When:   Monday, June 3, 2024 at 1 pm.

Where: Outside the Depot Square Train Station at 70 Main St., Ayer, MA (across from fire station)

Editor’s Note: the press conference will also be livestreamed on the MNA Facebook page at:

“This hospital closure will significantly impact the local community and area public safety.  Over 80 percent of the emergency medical calls transported by the Ayer Firefighters and Paramedics go to Nashoba Valley Medical Center,” Greenwood said.  “The hospital’s proximity allows for short transport times and a decreased time on task.  The closure of this hospital would also negatively impact public safety and the general health and wellbeing of the surrounding communities.  Emergency ambulances used to transport will be out of service for longer, increasing the likelihood that someone else needing an ambulance will have to wait much longer.  Traveling longer distances to alternative hospitals that are already overcrowded serves no benefit to the community or public health.  That is why the firefighters and EMTs of the Nashoba Valley communities are speaking out to support keeping Nashoba Valley Medical Center open.”

According to Sprague, the nurses and other dedicated caregivers who provide care to patients at NVMC, many for decades, are committed to doing everything in their power to ensure the most vulnerable in their community have access to the care they need within their own community.  “In health care every minute counts.  For patients experiencing a stroke or heart attack every lost minute can mean lost heart or brain function.  We may be a small hospital, but we are a good hospital that is essential to this community. For the nurses and other talented workers here, the people who depend on this hospital are more than patients, they are our friends, neighbors and many are indeed members of our own families. We will not let them down.”

In addition to underlying the important role the hospital plays in protecting the community, the advocates are using the opportunity to call upon the elected leadership in the state to make a real commitment to ensuring its survival.

“No community is expendable; no community is less important than another.  All of our communities are worth fighting for,” Sprague said.  “The hospitals’ staff have held firm and remain inspiringly committed to meeting the health needs of our communities, and it will take all facets of state government,  Attorney General Campbell, Speaker of the House Mariano, Senate President Spilka and Governor Healey to navigate this unprecedented health care crisis, to ensure that needed resources are made available to allow these hospitals to continue providing desperately needed health care to all those affected by this crisis.”

In addition to the press conference an online petition drive has been launched calling on the Healey administration to ensure the survival of the hospital.   Click here to view the petition. 

More than 200,000 residents from the Merrimack Valley to the South Coast are served by nine hospitals currently owned by Steward Healthcare including: St. Elizabeth’s in Brighton, Carney Hospital in Dorchester, Good Samaritan Medical Center in Brockton, Holy Family Hospital in Methuen and Haverhill Hospital in Haverhill, Morton Hospital in Taunton, Nashoba Valley Medical Center in Ayer, Norwood Hospital in Norwood, and St. Anne’s Hospital in Fall River. These hospitals are among the largest employers in our communities, with more than 16,000 workers and caregivers, who not only safeguard care, but also contribute to the economic health of our small businesses, cities, and towns.