Closed North Adams, Mass., Hospital Can’t Tap State’s Distressed Hospital Fund

The only hospital in North Adams, Mass., remains closed.

Seventy-five former employees have been rehired for an emergency care center. But two years before the city’s sole facility suddenly closed its doors, several state lawmakers tried to designate it as a “critical access” hospital, like Athol Memorial and Fairview in Great Barrington – places considered too isolated or specialized to shut down.

State Rep. Ronald Mariano says the designation would have raised the hospital’s reimbursement rate. But now with so much debt, and only about one-fifth of its beds filled at any given time, it’s going to be hard to even find a partner to bail out the hospital.

“[It’s also] hard to justify putting distressed hospital money into a facility that isn’t sustainable,” Mariano said.

Massachusetts’ Distressed Hospital Fund was developed two years ago when lawmakers were hammering out the health care cost containment law. The fund holds about $128 million.