Northern Berkshire Healthcare to End Operations, Lay Off 530

Northern Berkshire Healthcare in North Adams, Mass., will close North Adams Regional Hospital, its home health facility and its three hospital-owned physician practices, effective Friday, according to a Boston Globe report.

About 530 full- and part-time employees will lose their jobs. In a prepared statement, hospital officials told the Globe that North Adams Regional had fewer than 20 patients in its 109 beds. Timothy Jones, who was named president and CEO of Northern Berkshire Healthcare in July 2012 after the system emerged from bankruptcy that same summer, said: "The implications of this decision are far-reaching, but our primary concern is for our patients. We are working tirelessly to ensure a smooth transition to other care providers, including other hospitals in the region."

The Massachusetts Nurses Association and the Service Employees International Union said they plan to stop the closures, and state Sen. Benjamin Downing (D-Pittsfield), who represents the hospital's district, told the Globe he is working with the state to find a resolution.

Northern Berkshire Healthcare filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in June 2011. According to North Adams Regional's most recent financial data reported to the Massachusetts Center for Health Information and Analysis, the hospital posted total losses of more than $8.8 million from fiscal year 2009 through FY 2011. In 2012, the hospital was back on the positive side, recording almost $5.1 million of profit. Through the first three quarters of FY 2013, Northern Berkshire Healthcare posted a profit of $1.7 million.

In early 2013, health system officials were in discussions with Berkshire Health Systems in Pittsfield, Mass., about a potential takeover. However, a deal was never finalized.

The next closest facilities for patients are Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield and Southwestern Vermont Medical Center in Bennington.

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