NORTH ADAMS -- The closing of North Adams Regional Hospital hasn't stopped Ecu-Health Care from helping Northern Berkshire County residents access health insurance.
Since its inception in 1995, the nonprofit had operated out of the hospital until it closed March 27. This week, Ecu-Health Care successfully relocated its five-person staff and offices to 26 Union St. in North Adams.
"We are solid financially and we are fully functioning," said Charles "Chip" Joffe-Halpern, executive director of Ecu-Health Care.
Ecu-Health Care will conduct a "media blitz" in May to alert residents to the new location, Joffe-Halpern said.
While its hospital location was convenient for anyone frequenting North Adams Regional, Ecu-Health Care also had a $125,000 contract with the hospital to provide financial counseling services. But these aren't problems that can't be overcome, according to Joffe-Halpern.
"We are discussing future support with BMC [Berkshire Medical Center] and they are currently supporting us in the transition and we are grateful," Joffe-Halpern said. BMC's parent company, Berkshire Health Systems, is apparently in talks to acquire the hospital facility.
In 2013, Ecu-Health Care helped 2,577 people sign up for health care. So far this year, the nonprofit helped 623 individuals receive a new form of health converage.
"They've always been responsive to what the needs are and the context for what the services they provide," said Ann Singleton, executive director for the Williamstown Community Chest. The Community Chest helps fund nonprofits with a proven track record of community assistance.
Ecu-Health's priority continues to be health care enrollment. To reach Ecu-Health Care, visit 26 Union St. in North Adams or call (413) 663-8711.
About Ecu-Health Care
Ecu-Health Care is the designated outreach and enrollment site in Northern Berkshire County for all of the Massachusetts health programs and helps residents enroll into all supplemental programs associated with Medicare. The programs include: The new subsidized and unsubsidized Qualifed Health Plans implemented under national health reform, ConnectorCare, MassHealth, the Health Safety Net, The Children's Medical Security Plan, Medicare Part D, Prescription Advantage for seniors and the disabled, Medicare premium assistance, reduced fee dental care, and all prescription assistance programs. The group serves residents from North Adams, Cheshire, Adams, Savoy, Florida, Clarksburg, Williamstown, and New Ashford. We also serve the residents Pownal, Stamford, and Readsboro in Vermont. Source: Ecu-HealthCare
To reach John Sakata: firstname.lastname@example.org or (413) 496-6240. On Twitter: @jsakata