NORTH ADAMS -- The suite of medical services available at the former North Adams Regional Hospital is expanding.
Berkshire Medical Center has announced that it has opened an outpatient diagnostic imaging center, which will complement its satellite emergency facility at the site.
The imaging center, which opened Monday, is open weekdays between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. and includes X-ray, ultrasound, CT and MRI scanning services. X-ray services are available at the imaging center on a walk-in basis, but all other services are available by appointment, BMC spokesman Michael Leary said.
BMC also announced it was working through a federal permitting process in order to restore mammography services to the North Adams site in the future.
NARH closed abruptly on March 28, laying off more than 500 employees with less than a week's notice, and filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection shortly thereafter. More than 150 of those employees have since been hired by BMC, including four of the five radiological technicians hired to staff the new facility.
BMC is currently operating the emergency department, which opened on May 19, at the former NARH site under a short-term lease agreement with NARH's debt holders. It also has bid $4 million on an outright purchase of the former NARH buildings and assets. Should there be no other bidders, BMC could be declared the owner of the facility during a July 31 hearing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court.
Having an outpatient imaging center in North Adams will make it more convenient and easy for clinical patients to see their primary physicians, said Diane Kelly, BMC's chief operating officer. With the new facility in place, patients won't have to travel to Pittsfield for imaging needs.
"That's the primary reason for having it in North Adams," Kelly said.
Physicians can schedule appointments at the center through BMCs central scheduling.
As an outpatient facility, the imaging center is not related to the emergency services that BMC already has established in North Adams, Leary noted. The emergency facility has the same diagnostic tools as the outpatient imaging center, and has been using them since it opened, he added.
Leary said the imaging facility comes with an added bonus.
"Our MRI uses a large-bore hole, which is more convenient and more comfortable for many people," Leary said.
Staff writer Tony Dobrowolski contributed to this report.