Department of Public Health to Hold Public Hearings Nov. 1 On the Proposed Closure of the Psychiatric, Pediatric and Critical Care Units at North Adams Regional Hospital

Opponents to the Closings Will Present Testimony Detailing the Negative Impact the Loss of these Services Will Have on the Vulnerable Residents of Northern Berkshire County

NORTH ADAMS, Mass., Oct. 31, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is being released by Massachusetts Nurses Association/National Nurses United:

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20060525/NETH016LOGO)

What:       Department of Public Health – Public Hearings

When:        Friday, Nov. 1
                  10 a.m.        Hearing on the Closing of the Pediatric Unit

                  1:30 p.m.     Hearing on the Closing of the Psychiatric Unit and other services
                   (Editor's note, we expect this hearing to be more heavily attended.)

Where:      American Legion Hall, 91 American Legion Drive, North Adams

Who:          Local nurses, physicians, health care providers, mental health care advocates, former patients, local community leaders and elected officials are expected to speak at the hearing

The Department of Public Health will hold a public hearing on Nov. 1 concerning a controversial plan by North Adams Regional Hospital to close its psychiatric, pediatric and critical care units -- programs that are essential for preserving the health care safety net for resident of Northern Berkshire County. The public hearing is part of the legal process NARH is required to go through prior to closing these units, which is designed to determine if these are essential services for patients in the community. The proposed closing has been met with strong grassroots opposition by clinicians, parents and elected officials. Opponents to the closing believe the loss of these services will have a devastating impact on the most vulnerable residents in the community who rely on these services for quality care close to home.

The NARH Greylock Pavilion offers a comprehensive inpatient program for adults requiring acute psychiatric care, including patients who are suicidal, homicidal or experiencing a severe mental health crisis. Right now, there is a critical and growing shortage of behavioral health treatment beds in our state, and closing this unit will result in more patients crowding our emergency departments or going without care altogether. 

The NARH pediatric Unit provides basic pediatric care in a child-friendly environment from a staff that understands the needs of children. The loss of this unit will mean children will be boarded in the hospital's busy emergency department for observation, potentially exposing them to other adult patients and unsafe situations.  Other children will be forced to travel outside our community for care, making it harder for their families to visit and be there with their child when they need them most. 

The NARH's 10-bed critical care unit provides life-saving treatment, with intensive clinical monitoring for patients who are experiencing a life-threatening medical emergency, such as heart attack, stroke, respiratory failure or serious complications following a surgical procedure. NARH plans to close eight of the 10 beds, which will result in NARH patients suffering serious delays in receiving care and they will travel farther for life-saving treatments, placing patients' lives in unnecessary jeopardy.

SOURCE Massachusetts Nurses Association/National Nurses United



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