NARH community gathers strength, information at forum


Photo Gallery: NARH April 1 community meeting

NORTH ADAMS - Community members rallied again on Tuesday to oppose the closure of North Adams Regional Hospital and find ways to support those who need the medical facilities most.

The forum at the American Legion post gave local residents an update on progress in reopening an emergency department at NARH under the direction of Berkshire Medical Center, as well as an opportunity to discuss what options are available to those who need assistance after the closure.

Deborah Leonczyk, executive director of the Berkshire Community Action Council, said her organization offers emergency assistance to those in need. She said BCAC's transportation services may possibly be used as non-emergency transportation to Berkshire Medical Center for those who have no other option.

Sen. Benjamin Downing offered details on his meeting with both Gov. Deval Patrick and Attorney General Martha Coakley on Tuesday, saying that progress continues on reopening the emergency department.

Downing said he would post resources for those in need on his Facebook page and on the community Facebook page, "Save Northern Berkshire Healthcare Hospital."

Downing also read a letter - handwritten on a sheet of paper during a meeting earlier in the day by Patrick - updating the public on efforts to restore services to North Adams.

"The commonwealth has pledged to assist wherever and whenever it can," Patrick wrote. "We will engage a consultant to develop a long-term plan for medical services in North County."

Union representatives also announced a job fair that will be held at the Clark Building at the hospital today from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The unions unveiled signs, which advocate for services to be restored in North Adams, which they asked business owners to display in their stores. The representatives also passed out bumper stickers.

"The pressure the community has put on has shone a light," said Mike O'Brien, a former employee at NARH.

To reach Adam Shanks: or (413) 663-3741, ext. 225. On Twitter: @EagleAdamShanks


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