BMC Strengthens their North Adams Campus

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The Berkshire Medical Center (BMC) is strengthening their North Adams campus by offering several outpatient services designed to help patients.

Located at the old North Adams Regional Hospital (NARH), the BMC’s campus provides over a dozen programs and services to provide the health care needs of the Northern Berkshire community. Not only does the hospital include routine inpatient and outpatient care, but also community services through specialized programs.

According to the BMC website, some of the programs include 24-hour emergence care, Neighborhood For Health, the Berkshire Partnership for Health and Operation Better Start.

The 24-Hour Emergency Care facility provides full access care for emergent injuries or illness. Their website states this facility employs, “highly skilled Emergency Medicine physicians, nurses and staff, and is a satellite operation of the main Emergency Department at Berkshire Medical Center.”

Neighborhood For Health is a healthcare service educating patients on how to maintain good health to reduce the need for future hospitalization.

The Berkshire Partnership for Health is a “countywide initiative designed to target four key areas of disease prevention and wellness – diabetes, high blood pressure, falls prevention and tobacco treatment.” It also offers specific programs for the control or prevention of diabetes and high blood pressure.

Operation Better Start offers interdisciplinary approach to provide services for children, young adults, and families education for helping and preventing obesity. Nurses, dietitians, exercise professionals, and physicians work together to form this program.

The NARH closed on March 28, 2014 due to bankruptcy, leaving the Northern Berkshire community without easy accessible emergency care. Community members and MCLA students worried about the long trip to the closest emergency facility- the BMC in Pittsfield, Mass.

The hospital served over 30,000 citizens and was the largest employer in the city of North Adams

As a result, the local community and state and local legislators began working hard to solve the lack of medical service in the immediate area.

The local community created petitions to bring back a full-scale health care facility. In addition, the North County Cares Coalition formed to discuss the issues and possible solutions for the lack of a local hospital.

During the brainstorming process, the MCLA MountainOne Wellness Center teamed up with BMC to provide non-emergency care for the community and College. Registered nurses and nurse practitioners provide service every day from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Not having a 24-hour service was still a major concern for both community members and college students. Financial problems were still stopping further progress until the Massachusetts Health Policy Commission awarded a $3 million CHART grant for the North Adams BMC. With the additional funds, the BMC was able to replace the old NARH with a well-established and fully functioning hospital.

Both the BMC and the North County Cares Coalition were contacted and did not wish to make a statement.