NORTH ADAMS -- A coalition of community organizations will hold a forum today with the goal of halting the impending closure of the Greylock Pavilion.
The forum, which will begin at 6 p.m. at the North Adams American Legion, is co-sponsored by a number of Berkshire County organizations that oppose the closure of psychiatric services, slated for early January, at North Adams Regional Hospital.
Advocates will provide information on the topic followed by a session for community input, according to David Schildmeier, a spokesman for the Massachusetts Nurses Association (MNA).
The MNA is co-sponsoring the event with the Adams Council on Aging, Berkshire Coalition for Suicide Prevention, Elder Services of Berkshire County, Inc., Elizabeth Freeman Center, National Alliance on Mental Illness of Berkshire County, Service Employees International Union 1199, and the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 54.
Hospital officials have been invited to the event, according to Schildmeier.
Shift to partnerships
The hospital's parent organization, Northern Berkshire Healthcare, announced in September its intentions to end inpatient psychiatric and pediatric services and rely instead on partnerships with other regional hospitals for extended care.
Once it closes the Greylock Pavilion, the hospital intends to utilize "pods" in its emergency department to treat acutely ill psychiatric patients. Those assessed in need of longer care will be transported to other hospitals in the region, such as Berkshire Medical Center and the Brien Center.
The Department of Public Health (DPH) held two public hearings in November on the possible affect of closing the Greylock Pavilion and inpatient pediatric services.
Though the DPH has no regulatory power to stop the closure, it issued a statement later that month deeming Pavilion services necessary for North Berkshire residents.
The nurses association touted the DPH decision as proof the Greylock Pavilion shouldn't be closed.
"Our hope now is that our administration will heed the DPH's call to work with the community," said Susan Revotski in a November statement. Revotski is a registered nurse who works in the Greylock Pavilion.
Hospital officials, on the other hand, said following the DPH statement that they recognize the inpatient services are essential -- and they would continue to make them available through other providers.
The Greylock Pavilion is unsustainable for a hospital that continues to see revenues decline, officials have said. It sustains an annual loss of approximately $2 million from the pavilion alone, according to Paul Hopkins, a hospital spokesman.
The hospital is also "making progress" on plans to help the North County family members of patients in Pittsfield visit their loved ones.