The $4 million sale of the former North Adams Regional Hospital to Berkshire Medical Center has been approved by U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Henry Boroff, and barring objections over the next two weeks, North Adams will be on its way to having a restored hospital. But what kind of hospital?
A consultant’s report on North County health care needs will emerge in the coming weeks, and it is unrealistic in this era of consolidation to insist that a reopened NARH be a smaller mirror image of BMC. The issue will be less one of hospital beds than how NARH can complement BMC in a regional approach to care.
In a visit to The Eagle on Friday, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Don Berwick, a former health care executive and current reformer, suggested that a new vision should be found for NARH, perhaps one focused on wellness programs that actually translate to fewer hospital visits. The painful closure and sale provides an opportunity to re-imagine NARH in a way better suited to the region and to reality.