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The home for VPR's coverage of health and health industry issues affecting the state of Vermont.

Mass. Gov. Patrick Hopes North Adams Hospital Stays Open

A hospital in North Adams, Mass has announced it will close its doors Friday, leaving 530 people out of work.

The move is another blow to the regional economy which includes Bennington County and southwestern Vermont.

Massachusetts Gov, Deval Patrick says he’s not ready to concede that the hospital will close. But the governor has been vague about how to prevent it from happening.

Patrick said his public health department worked through the weekend to try to find a solution. And he thought they had one right up until Tuesday, when the board of Northern Berkshire Healthcare announced it was shutting down come Friday.
 
“And, of course, it leaves a hole in the service network for a very important part of the commonwealth,” Patrick told reportersWednesday.
 
Patrick acknowledged the “serious debt issues” the hospital faces. He said he’s dispatched state labor department employees to help the more than 500 people now working at the hospital and related offices.
 
Still – while offering no details on exactly what was in the works, he offered an optimistic statement.
 
“I will say, I don’t think this is over,” Patrick said.
 
Neither do the unions representing some of those workers. An SEIU local is calling on state officials to act and the Massachusetts Nurses Association says it’s considering legal options.
 
New England Public Radio’s Sarah Birnbaum contributed to this report.