Patients, public concerned by sudden closure of North Adams Regi - NEWS10 ABC: Albany, New York News, Weather, Sports

Patients, public concerned by sudden closure of North Adams Regional Hospital

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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. -- North Adams Regional Hospital employs some 530 employees and serves thousands of those that live in the Berkshires, but it will close in just two days.

The hospital has been in debt since 2001, and Northern Berkshire healthcare declined an on camera interview when asked about the short notice.

"We are heartbroken at the closing of the hospital; we know it has been a critical resource to the community and we did everything possible to save it. Unfortunately, we were not able to do so."

That statement did little for patients like Shirley Dolle, who says she comes to the hospital at least once a week for physical therapy.

"I was very devastated for all the workers that are here and people that are going to lose their jobs. We just don't know where we're going to go for doctors now or anything," she said.

North Adams Mayor Richard Alcombright said he was not surprised by Tuesday's news because the hospital is $30 million in debt. However, he said he's been in contact with state legislators and Governor Deval Patrick to come up with a way to continue to supply the city with full-service medical care.

The mayor said emergency relief services would be coming to the hospital to speak with the 530 employees about unemployment and resume writing.

The Village Ambulance Service said the closure of the hospital will affect the transport time getting patients to the neighboring hospital in Pittsfield. The General Manager of the service said they will just have to adapt to the changes.

"When we're talking lights and sirens, what would normally take us five to seven minutes to North Adams will now take us 20 to 25 minutes," said General Manager Shawn Godfrey of Village Ambulance Service in Williamstown.

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