Letter: Fear at root of hospital situation in North Adams

Fear blocks hospital progress in No. Adams

To the editor:

Modern airplanes bomb modern hospitals. It's happening in the Middle East. More peaceable deathly chaos hits the North Adams Regional Hospital, which stays closed for money — or is it panicky emotions about money?

The region has vast public money for construction and vast private money for colleges and museums. But amidst riches is where financial panic breaks out. Another odd fear as hospital management and unions shying away from federal "critical access" funding, the aid format that preserves Great Barrington's hospital.

Fear makes problems. Pro-hospital citizens may fear someone raising their house tax or blocking their kid's summer job if they campaign for hospital rescue. Fear implies that one-fifth of US hospitals will be financially doomed within 10 years.

Fears can be excusable. Beloved New England town democracy fixates on town budget savings, not town hospital saving (also, not saving jobs, small businesses, safe water supplies and so on.) Mercifully, fear and chaos sometimes include beneficial effects: the excellent North Adams emergency room reopened, more services also, and more are coming.

A chaotic planet may need chaotic remedies. As North Adams get federal agriculture grants, residents might petition the USDA to reopen the hospital as a base for rooftop agriculture, heroically farming milkweed for monarch butterflies. In a world in disarray — ISIS, Ebola, Zika, crazed comic relief of Trump vs. the Pope — improvements may take odd shapes.

Richard David Greene, North Adams


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