Health Care and Community Advocates Hold Community Forum on Dec. 10 on the Proposed Closure of the Greylock Pavilion at North Adams Regional Hospital, Seek to Preserve Essential Psychiatric Services in Northern Berkshire County

Dec 09, 2013, 09:52 ET from Massachusetts Nurses Association/National Nurses United

The Forum Responds to Findings by the State Department of Public Health that the Greylock Pavilion Provides Essential Services for the Health of the Community and to a Call by DPH for NARH Administration to Work with the Community to Find an Alternative to Closure


NORTH ADAMS, Mass., Dec. 9, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is being released by Massachusetts Nurses Association/National Nurses United:



Community Forum to Save Inpatient Psychiatric Services at North Adams Regional Hospital


Tuesday, Dec. 10 at 6 p.m.


American Legion Hall, 91 American Legion Drive, North Adams


The forum is co-sponsored by the Adams Council on Aging, Berkshire Coalition for Suicide Prevention, Elder Services of Berkshire County, Inc., Elizabeth Freeman Center, Massachusetts Nurses Association/National Nurses United, National Alliance on Mental Illness of Berkshire County (NAMIBC), Service Employees International Union 1199, and the Vietnam Veterans of America Chap 54. The forum is open to all, and will be moderated by NAMIBC President Deborah Sadowy and Executive Director Brenda Carpenter.

On Dec. 10 a broad coalition of health care, mental health care, consumer, labor and veterans advocacy organizations is holding a forum to develop a plan to save desperately needed inpatient psychiatric and substance abuse treatment services at North Adams Regional Hospital. The proposed closing of this service has been met with strong grassroots opposition by clinicians, parents, former patients and elected officials, and the call to save the program has been buoyed by the State Department of Public Health, which recently issued a finding that the Greylock Pavilion provides an essential service to protect the health of the community. The forum also responds to a direct call by DPH, which lacks the regulatory authority to block the closure, for the hospital to work with the community and policy makers to find an alternative to their closure plan. 

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. And statistics provided by the Commonwealth's Department of Public Health confirm the problem:

  • Mental health disorders are the seventh leading cause of death for Northern Berkshire County.
  • Mental health disorders and alcohol abuse are the second and eight leading causes related to hospital discharges in the area.
  • Both mental health and alcohol abuse exceed the state's percentage rate for hospital discharges.[1]

In response to the DPH findings, NARH has said they plan to push forward with their ill-conceived plan, stating they intend to house acutely ill psychiatric patients in their emergency department; to force patients to travel to other facilities for care, or to receive care via telephone or on a computer via Skype. None of these alternatives will provide the level of care these patients deserve and the forum will begin a community-wide discussion to preserve this vital service. 

[1]This data comes from the Department of Public Health's Community Health Information Profile, and was included in NARH's Community Needs Assessment, p.65.

SOURCE Massachusetts Nurses Association/National Nurses United