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NARH EXCLUSIVE: THE PLANET LAYS OUT A PLAUSIBLE — EVEN PROBABLE —FUTURE SCENARIO … BOTTOM LINE, CLOSED-DOOR POW-WOWS SUGGEST DOORS COULD RE-OPEN SOON BUT UNDER A RADICALLY DIFFERENT SET OF CIRCUMSTANCES

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By DAN VALENTI

PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, WEEKEND EDITION, MARCH 28-30, 2014) — With news popping like a Redenbacher kernal and saluted more than a redneck colonel, THE PLANET is tempted to fire buckshot in lots of directions. Scattered fire, however, will not suffice, and so we shall try to aim a few well-placed rounds at one target. The other stories we have covered and uncovered, all news not related to the Hospital Melodrama, shall have to wait until next week.

Thus we once again deal with the shocking closure of North Adams Regional Hospital, scheduled to occur today at 10 a.m.

——- 000 ——-

The Story is Being Writ Behind Closed Doors

THE PLANET can say this much: There’s tons going on behind the scenes, and no one, no one, wants to go on the record. This is precisely why reliance on the sanitized, official pronouncements, which The Boring Broadsheet and other media have done, will not present to a bewildered populace the true story. That, at least, we are attempting.

Let us cut to the chase and share what we think we’ve learned. Note the qualifier, inserted because the situation is fragile and highly tenuous, resistant at this point to certainty, and subject to change on a dime if the right (or wrong) player or players even so much as sneeze in the wrong way. With that, THE PLANET will suggest (short of prediction but more than speculation) that within two weeks and perhaps less, the former NARH will once again open its doors.

The former NARH, if what is being discussed according to sources comes to pass, will be “owned” by a new parent company, and that company will be or will be the Siamese kin of Berkshire Health Systems. There. We said it not as a prediction but to reflect what convincingly seems to be the nature of current discussions of “what will happen next?” There are additional pieces of the puzzle which, when added to what THE PLANET posted yesterday, point to the strong possibility of that outcome.

How will it work? If the state declares a medical emergency in light of a hospital closing, such as this case, there needs to be a “cooling off” period after the closing, no less than five days, sources say. Without that period, a takeover of one medical institution of another, BHS of NARH, for example, would keep existing contractual agreements at the hospital intact. In this case, if BHS were to “take over” within five days, it would inherit NARH’s existing union contracts, which neutral observers call egregious and onerous to financial health. The unions would disagree with that characterization, of course. There seems to be no doubt, however, that as a significant causative factor in NARH’s demise, overly-generous contracts hampered the hospital beyond its ability to complete in an increasingly turbulent and unsettled healthcare environment.

After that initial waiting period, a rescuing agent (BHS) would be able to enter the picture under an emergency scenario, acquire the hospital’s assets, assume its liabilities, and — more importantly — begin its ownership with all union contracts null and void. At that point, the new owner would invite some employees back again under new, far less generous terms. Given the lack of better or even remotely close employment opportunities for well-paid healthcare professionals who wish to remain in Berkshire County, those wishing to sign on would have to be prepared to swallow hefty pay and perhaps benefit concessions. This would include the higher-paid employed such as unionized nurses but not those lowest on the financial food chain (housekeepers, for example).

1995: A Precedent in Berkshire County

Does this acquisition scenario sound familiar? It should. Much the same thing happened in Berkshire County in 1995 when the rapacious newspaper chain MediaNews Group from Denver, Colo., purchased the newspaper formerly known as The Berkshire Eagle from the Miller family. MediaNews Group, fueled by the financially brilliant but editorially ruinous tactics of slash-and-burn CEO Dean Singleton, swooped in after the Millers bet the farm and lost gambling on the real estate market.

They bought high and saw the market collapse. Singleton offered pennies on the dollar and made yet another fire-sale purchase for his media empire. The first thing the news group did was immediately fire everyone. The next day, they invited the “lucky” ones to reapply for their jobs at pay cuts ranging from 10 to nearly 50%. Since that time, the chain went into receivership and is now owned by a holding company. You can bet your bippy (nod to the late comic Dick Martin) that neither MediaNews Group and its present holding company gives two shakes about the citizens who live in Berkshire County, including its only two cities.

That’s where the analogy ends. THE PLANET would predict a much more fortuitous stewardship from BHS than MediaNews Group and its successor holding company ever gave to The Berkshire Eagle. We make that statement on the industry tracks records of BHS, which is positive, versus MediaNews, which is negative.

While we’re on the subject of The Boring Broadsheet, we must point out the supreme hypocrisy for the newspaper to editorialize — anonymously, of course, in its typical cowardly fashion — for the shutting down of NARH. Didn’t The BB just do the same when it shut down The North Adams Transcript?  How dare The BB have the unmitigated impudence to criticize the hospital for walking out on the community when it only months before did the exact same thing? The BB doesn’t want you to think about that awkward fact.

THE PLANET: At least we’ve tried digging.

Let THE PLANET also humbly point out that with our essentially lone efforts employed at a time of many other journalistic, writing, and rhetorical responsibilities, helped by a fat Rolodex and spies in lots of places (in the news game, they’re called “sources”), we have at least gamely tried to get “underneath” the surface. This digging has involved asking tough questions and circumventing run-arounds as best we could, not always successfully — but at least we aren’t afraid to try. Match that effort with that of the entire newsroom of The BB, with the resources at its disposal. Beyond the first-day reporting, which we credited, what have they done? They have in effect backed off this story in a big way. In doing so, the alleged newspaper have, yet again, soiled itself and failed the community to whom it has a moral responsibility.

A Curious Dodge: It’s Not a ‘Merger’

It’s also curious to see the timid reticence of The BB to dig behind the scenes and go much beyond the official press releases of the NARH story. For example, in the paper’s main story to its followup coverage on Thursday, our good friend, reporter Tony Dobrowolski, asked NARH spokesman Paul Hopkins if NARH was in “merger” talks with BHS. No, Hopkins said, and he was no doubt being truthful. That’s because, the scenario we outlined earlier in this column doesn’t involve a “merger.” A merger deals with acquisition by one company of another, where each benefits, and in which one subsumes to the other. Think of it as a blending.

Contrarily, the discussions sources say are taking place at the highest levels of healthcare and state government do not concern merger. They concern the dissolution of one company and the opportunistic acquisition of the remaining assets and liabilities by another, which has previously expressed a coveted  under favorable terms allowable by the official declaration of a regional health emergency. There’s no indication that anyone from The BB asked NARH about acquisition scenarios other than merger. Why? Lack of curiosity? Fear?

There are other tantalizing bits of evidence in a story where much is happening but little is being publicly shared. Some relevant information can be found if you have the enormous patience to wander through the maze-like state website that deals with the complex legalities of the healthcare system, a system that led the nation in “universal insurance” under Romneycare. The evidence suggests that state officials, including our state reps, knew about the inevitable closing long before it happened. It doesn’t appear that they knew the exact date or the final scenarios, which seems to caught most everyone off guard.

Most everyone.

Clearly, there had to be people on the inside who knew of this plan some time ago. How else could it have unfolded the way it did? There were discussions and decisions about the fate of the hospital that were made with the intent of keeping in the dark key constituents in the decisions, including hospital employees, citizens of Berkshire County, elected officials, and others. It also appears the NARH Board of Trustees chose not to include those it would appear it had an obligation to involve.

Who were the people involved in formulating the plan? Why did they choose to announce it as they did? What did they know and when? Why did they not share that knowledge in a more humane way rather than announcing on a Tuesday that as of 10 a.m. the ensuing Friday? Who will make out in the tidal wash after the ship does down? Is there anyone who will unfairly profit based on advanced, insider knowledge?

These questions have not been answered. THE PLANET believes that’s where our state reps come into play, particularly Gail Carrddi, Tricia Farley-Bouvier, and Sen. Ben Downing. They should be insisting on answers for a stunned and hurting community. They have this obligation.

Just a guess, but perhaps the answer to these questions can be found in three words: Follow the money.

————————————————————————————

“Thou wast all to me, love, / For which my soul did pine …”Edgar Poe, “To One in Paradise.”

“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”

LOVE TO ALL.

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Scott
Scott
7 years ago

I forgot all about the NA transcript. There was that and the outsource of the entire accounts receivable department to India leaving all the locals without a job. Hipocrites!

MrG1188
MrG1188
Reply to  Scott
7 years ago

They also outsourced graphic design, eliminating an entire department and leaving essentially one guy

Scott
Scott
7 years ago

Also thank you of pointing out that obamacare is just like our romneycare. I chopped the tips of my fingers off with a table saw and was told that my commonwealth care I paid for monthly was welfare insurance and my ER visit wouldn’t be covered. After the private surgeons office was done trying to extort over three g’s out of me they settled for $300 and I settled for a half ass job that had I let them sedate me like they wanted to would have been even worse. Thanks Romney. Although to the surgeons credit he did do what I asked and didn’t cut me to the next knuckle (what’s a quarter inch amongst friends?) and he did offer to do another surgery I just didn’t want to go through it all over again plus now I can depress two strings on my guitar with my middle nub. Dem/repub what’s the real difference?

Bill Sturgeon
Bill Sturgeon
7 years ago

Very good article, Dan! You actually used “facts”!

dusty
dusty
7 years ago

I would be shocked if BHS did not land on this opportunity in a heartbeat. And I would also be very surprised if they claimed not to be aware it was coming. No way they did not know. They seem to want to control all money making medical care around the area. They may be running that place by next week.

Of course this is just tea leaf speculation but that is how I roll sometimes. And sadly too often I am right.

Scott
Scott
Reply to  dusty
7 years ago

The tea party has some very valuable points and ideals. The only people who don’t see that are blind democrat party followers that can’t be reasoned with and use liberal media hype on a few isolated members actions.

Bull Durham
Bull Durham
Reply to  Scott
7 years ago

I’m sorry, Dusty, but when you claim BHS wants to ‘control all money making medical care around the area,’ are you under any kind of impression that NARH was making money???? It clearly was losing money by the hour, to the tune of millions each year. How exactly do you see BHS profiting from this situation? They came in and offered to run the ER when no one else, including the state, would lift a finger. They came in and kept the physician practices (OB/GYN and primary care) operating when patients desperately need them. But guys like you think it’s all about control. Well, sorry, but this time you’re dead wrong. I know people who work at NARH and I live in that city, have lived there for many decades. On behalf of those who are impacted by this situation, I wholeheartedly thank BHS for what it’s doing. You don’t live here, you don’t work here, you don’t pay taxes in North Adams, I’m sure. Stick to what you know and continue to blast Pittsfield politics.

MrG1188
MrG1188
Reply to  Bull Durham
7 years ago

Bull, the whole point of Dan’s post today was that NARH would not have been a profitable acquisition for BHS with the obligations it had. However, given these very precise circumstances they can come in, pick it up for pennies on the dollar, bring in new workers under THEIR more favorable union contracts and then have a very profitable venture indeed. They are not doing this out of the goodness of their hearts and their deep desire to better-serve the North County community.

dusty
dusty
Reply to  Bull Durham
7 years ago

I am fully aware that NARH was bleeding money. Probably due to poor management. BHS will make sure that does not happen. But I still think BHS wants to control as much of the health care industry it can get its hands on. They look like the great savior now for sure but don’t believe they are not looking to profit from it down the line.

Bull I feel like you missed the point I was trying to make.

Scott
Scott
Reply to  dusty
7 years ago

Hey at least they have a medium providing quality service while maintaining profits and paying employees a livable wage. Nothing wrong with that they just need to share more of the tax responsibility like the rest of us. I know they don’t call’em Berkshire murder center for nothing but I always recieved a passable level of care there.

Nota
Nota
7 years ago

I always think of my classmate and friend Verterans of America founder Bobby Muller, hit by a bullet went through his lungs, causing them to collapse, and severing his spinal cord, as a U.S. Marine in Vietnam. Bobby was married to Solange MacArthur, Doctor and billionare philanthropist. Bobby is in D C and Florida now, confined to a wheelchair for over fifty years. Bobby was left for dead, but was miraculously saved by a medavack that was in the area. My point of all this, is, our Vets fought for our freedoms, my friend Bobby wouldn’t have lived it weren’t for medical responders, to play games with closing the hospital is just flat out wrong

Wilson
Wilson
Reply to  Nota
7 years ago

Most of us aren’t billionaires, medical intervention is pointless

Bill Sturgeon
Bill Sturgeon
7 years ago

Please excuse me for going off topic, but I thought that this “news” was important. Believe me I praying for the all of the decision makers and people at NARH>

I THOUGHT THAT “U” SHOULD KNOW!
Mary “Carrot Cake” McGinnis, Director of Administrative Services (Top Aide To The Mayor) has offered her resignation, according to the Berkshire Eagle! While I am so happy for Mary – Im so sad for the City.
If you have not been paying attention Mary has been the driving force behind so many progressive initiatives. Being the “loyal” servant, she took a backseat to the political “beings” who took the credit for her hard work, and she just continued to do her job.
Mary, thank you for your service and the best of everything always!!!!

dusty
dusty
Reply to  Bill Sturgeon
7 years ago

Most of us see this administration from the outside in and we find fault with it. She sees it from the inside with all its warts and boils. Can’t blame her for moving on.

smh
smh
Reply to  dusty
7 years ago

I’m sure YOU would be very disappointed to learn all that there “warts and boils” stuff actually had nothing to do with Mary’s decision to leave her job at city hall.

I Care About Pittsfield
I Care About Pittsfield
Reply to  smh
7 years ago

I heard otherwise. Mary, as Mr. Sturgeon says, did a good job for the city. The mayor and cronies took 99.99% of the credit and more than once hung her out to dry for their errors.

There is much more to the story, a part that the mayor etc. does not want to be told.

I came in with full support of Mr. Bianchi. Now, I will work for anyone who hastens to get him and his hand-picked out of public life.

On NARH, Mr. Valenti has once again outdone the Eagle. I’m no great fan of either, but call them as I see them. I can only say I have a unique position so to enable me to do this.

Spider
Spider
7 years ago

RE: School Dept. budget……I was shocked to learn that $1.5 million will still be owed for buses traded in. Can any of us imagine that kind of transaction when we turn in our cars? When is this MADNESS coming from the School Dept. going to stop????

I also didn’t appreciate the “snippy” attitude that Sue Carmel had when Councilor Clairmont was asking reasonable questions.

outfox
outfox
7 years ago

Shabby behavior on the part of NARH administration, to be sure, and may well be union busting by BHS, but speaking of unionization,how about the college athletes who are now union eligible?

amandaWell
amandaWell
7 years ago

Mrs Behnke and Mrs Carmel I believe answers were, we weren’t around when the buses were purchased. Well, the Mayor Was!

Steeples
Steeples
7 years ago

Dan, since nobody seems to want to ask this, has any thought been given to the fact that the nurses’ union could be to blame for this, wiht nurses making upwards of $100k a year?

Thomas More
Thomas More
Reply to  Steeples
7 years ago

It’s true that some nurses make close to 100 K. It’s not because they’re overpaid but because there is a shortage of them and they can work all the hours they want. Spend some time in ER and you’ll see auto accident victims, OD’s, people who were shot as well as the routine cuts, bruises and colds. They are worth every dime they get.

C. Trzcinka
C. Trzcinka
7 years ago

Imagine for a moment that you are an administrator for NARH. You have been trying to sell the hospital since 2010 and in 2012 you filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy to reorganize your debt. Every day is a struggle to find the cash to meet the payroll and buy the supplies that every seller knows you may have trouble paying for. You have a very high percentage of Medicare and Medicaid patients which means that you give care to these people that costs more than you get from a Federal government that keeps babbling about “cost control”. That means you buddy. Your unions probably tell you that they are paid what everyone else is paid so why should they take cuts?
Its not surprising that on one Tuesday in March you just walk away…

bobbyd
bobbyd
Reply to  C. Trzcinka
7 years ago

This is what happens whenever you remove market forces from an industry. Look for more of it in the future.

bobbyd
bobbyd
7 years ago

After that initial waiting period, a rescuing agent (BHS) would be able to enter the picture under an emergency scenario, acquire the hospital’s assets, assume its liabilities, and — more importantly — begin its ownership with all union contracts null and void.

I would imagine the sticking point is the liabilities. BHS has no moral or legal obligation to assume NARH’s liabilities.

As for contracts, any employees whom BHS decides to retain will be represented by unions already in place at BHS and rehired under the terms of the contracts negotiated by those unions.

outfox
outfox
7 years ago

Hearing on the BB site that there are moving vans at NARH, and protestors are being asked to block them. MOVING VANS??! Already??? Yeah, someone planned this big time. Truly obscene.

MrG1188
MrG1188
7 years ago

“the alleged newspaper have, yet again, soiled itself ”

I once wrote in a college essay that my character suffered from years of “self-abuse,” having no idea what the ultimate meaning of that was. Either you were being ultra-metaphorical or you mistakenly misused an idiom. Either way it’s hysterical!

eddiep
eddiep
7 years ago

Just saw on tv that the er will be closed for the weekend due to no money to run it.

Magic
Magic
7 years ago

Off subject sorry. Drove by PHS today as schools was about to get out There were cars parked from the corner up as far as the funeral home. Where do the busses pick up because they can’t park there. Why big busses when smaller ones would do as well. Is it really a nessesity (sp) to replace all of the busses. Appears that a large amount of kids are getting picked up by someone other than the bus

I’m so sorry about NARH
.

Donald
Donald
Reply to  Magic
7 years ago

Magic,
What’s that about 15-20 cars…probably one for every kid? With a back drive and entrance on Appleton, I’d imagine east st wouldn’t be the logical choice for a school bus stop.

ShirleyKnutz
ShirleyKnutz
7 years ago

Maybe the City council could cut the cost of the buses out of the school budget that they have to pass. At least then they could sway they made the school department live with in themselves!!

Dave
Dave
7 years ago

Watch again and listen closely when Barry brings up the fact that we are still paying for the purchase of the current buses. The “plan” is to pay for these new buses within 5 years Mrs. Benkhe confirmed the prior commitment by the school committee to replace the buses in increments, a couple each year to keep the fleet updated, and then tried to explain it away by saying that they thought the funds would be there but the money had to be spent elsewhere. Why on earth would we think this would not happen again? This is a perfect example of the shell game that Pittsfield is trying to play again, while all the surrounding communities seem to understand the situation the area is in.

Joe Blow
Joe Blow
Reply to  Dave
7 years ago

Barry C. has been asking some great questions lately. I wish he would get behind a forensic audit of every department in the city. It would be expensive but just imagine all the savings and other things we would find. It’s time to start questioning the answers.

Dave
Dave
Reply to  Joe Blow
7 years ago

But, alas he is a politician! When asked last year when he actually had the gall to question the school budget whether he as a numbers guy would do an analysis of the PPS budget, he said he didn’t have the time. In his field, he must have known of a few consultants that would have jumped at the chance to do a “Mayor Barrett” job regarding the school department, but then he would have lost by at least the few number of votes that kept him elected.

Joe Blow
Joe Blow
Reply to  Dave
7 years ago

I wouldn’t want anyone with any connection to the city….we need a auditing firm from as far away as possible. You’re right he is a politician and I think he is one of the few who realize the trouble we’re in.

B. Clairmont
B. Clairmont
Reply to  Dave
7 years ago

Dave, I would have to give my day job up to take a task of that magnitude on. Who is going to pay my bills while I do such a thing? For it to be performed properly, it would take me over a year, 40 hours a week.

And, I have no authority to undertake such a task. We councilors have no such power. In fact, the new charter weakened the council significantly. We aren’t even allowed to ask department heads direct questions. That is one of the many reasons I was against the new charter.

That stance almost cost me the election. Only Chris Yon had the guts to say the new charter was flawed. It did cost her.

Barry

Scott
Scott
Reply to  B. Clairmont
7 years ago

That’s bs. I voted againt the charter but dies my vote really matter when less than half of people actually vote and the others mostly follow due to political connections?

Nota
Nota
7 years ago

Martha comes to the rescue, she’ll get all the Union votes. It will make a nice story.

amandaWell
amandaWell
7 years ago

St. Mary seemed to have lost her appetite for politics, the Carrot was dangled for a few months,but in the end she going back to what she does best, act accordingly.

Jamie
Jamie
Reply to  amandaWell
7 years ago

Carrot cakes are more suited to her, not the fruitcakes of politics. She couldn’t take anymore of Bianchi’s hypocrisy.

outfox
outfox
7 years ago

So here’s what we heard at the community meeting tonight regarding the sudden closing of NARH—Administrators were shredding documents all day. Mayor Alcombright knew of this closing well in advance and imposed the equivalent of gag orders on major players, including possibly firing someone who was going to spill the beans. Board members, some of whom I have known personally for decades, are not taking calls from the community. BMC was trying it’s damndest to not acquire NARH anytime soon. Tim Jones is no better than a mass murderer. Martha Coakley, hometown girl, screwed us at the 11th hour by listening to NARH attorneys over front line providers in the ER and other NARH employees who know better the availability of supplies necessary to keep the ED open. And, you know, you don’t go in for a new ruling at 3:30 on a Friday afternoon because you’re being transparent… Ok, so that’s what the people in the room were saying.

In front of the room, the politicians. Sen. Downing was incredible, beginning by apologizing and saying, “We did not do enough.” Yes, it’s good politics to get right out in front of it like that, but he came across as truly sincere.The refrain of all three politicians—Alcombright, Downing, and Rep. Cariddi—was “This thing has a lot of moving parts.” They all said it, sometimes more than once. Sen. Downing explained clearly to the crowd what needs to happen next, and projected timetables, and had the room in the palm of his hand as he spoke of his own family’s medical history, and the importance of a full service hospital being available to all families. One of the reasons NARH receives less in Medicare/ Medicaid reimbursements than BMC has to do with federal funding of local highways, believe it or not. If North Berkshire had 1.8 less miles of a federal highway, reimbursements to NARH would be much higher. Downing also explained that there are local, state, and federal pieces that all need to come together in order to reinstate services at NARH.

There was no police presence at the American Legion, where the meeting took place, and hospital employees who were in one on one contact with NAPD all day, as the situation remains fluid and emotional, had nothing but high praise for the local constabulatry. After all, NARH is their hospital too.

One NARH employee who has received healthcare from BMC over the last couple of months said every time she was in PIttsfield, employees there were shocked that NARH was still operating (no pun intended) as everyone around BHS seemed to be well aware that NARH was no longer financially viable. Big disconnects in communication everywhere it seems, and quite possibly criminal liability.

DV, I hope you stay with this story in the same way that you stayed with the Meredith Nilan story. I suspect that this story is even bigger than that. Definitely equal to the Angelo Stracuzzi fiasco.

Oh, and not for nuthin’ mayor for life Barrett was spotted lurking in the doorway, fat as a tick…

outfox
outfox
Reply to  danvalenti
7 years ago

FYI, Planetarians, Every Tuesday afternoon at 5 there will be a meeting at the American Legion in North Adams for updates on the NARH situation, and for solidarity.

The nurses union is but one of the multiple “moving parts” in this equation. In my experience, when I or a family member has been hospitalized, we only see our doctor once, maybe twice,a day, but the nurses are there providing care all day and all night, so personally, I don’t mind if they make a boatload of money. They are certainly as experienced and highly skilled in their bailiwick as the surgeon is in his/hers, and how often have you yourself said something like this in regards your healthcare: “I’d go to Timbuktu if that’s where the best doctor was”? IMHO, as long as we have skilled and fairly compensated nurses, I will not need to make travel arrangements to foreign lands.

After such a big day news wise yesterday, I was surprised to see how thin the coverage in the BB today about the community meeting. Sen Downing gave so much useful information to the people, and questions and comments from the floor furthered the conversation. The tv cameras were all over it, but not the BB, sigh. I normally do not have great expectations of the BB, but really thought they would do thorough reporting on the meeting. Living in this age of fancy electronics and instant messaging, there’s no excuse…Seriously, BB, put some of those Transcript reporters on this please!

The closing of NARH affects over half the county. In the words of Joe Biden, “This is a big f****** deal.”

dusty
dusty
Reply to  outfox
7 years ago

“fat as a tick”. So funny, yet applicable to so many ex politicians looking for their next free meal.

Spider
Spider
7 years ago

The bad situation at NARH clearly points out the dangers of a powerful union making excessive demands, along with a weak CEO who agreed to all. That super contract isn’t going to help them now.

Which leads me to this…..our School Dept. and School Comm. better take heed. All around us smaller towns are rejecting their school budgets (Lee is the latest).

This city is in jeopardy and Pittsfield politicians are living in a bubble.. Thank God we have B. Clairmont,(and possibly a few others), but they can’t do it alone.

Thomas More
Thomas More
Reply to  Spider
7 years ago

Do you know what is in the super contract?

Spider
Spider
Reply to  Thomas More
7 years ago

If what we have been told on the Planet is true….salaries of between $90,000 to $100,000 plus exceptional benefits is pretty damn “super” to me.

Joe Pinhead
Joe Pinhead
Reply to  Spider
7 years ago

Wow what a week I’ve been wanting to throw a couple of pennies in to this conversation but I’ve been told I don’t exist But if I did exist i might ask a few questions and throw out a few thoughts.

As we all know healthcare is a heavily regulated industry this includes the financial side of the equation. We as taxpayers support what was known as the Division of Healthcare Policy and Finance. Please take note of the last word in that title Finance they are not only responsible for reimbursements but every Hospital MUST file with this office not only a yearly financial report but quarterly reports as well. All of this is set in place by the Legislature and codified in the Commonwealth of Ma Regulations commonly refereed to as CMR. As luck would have it CMR 114 sets up the requirements.

As luck would have it since healthcare is so heavily regulated each organization has a position commonly referred to as the Governmental Affairs representative.
For years on end NARH has been loosing money ( don’t take my word for it remember I’m not real so go to the link below and look at the financial’s for yourself, as is standard in accounting practice losses are enclosed in parentheses ().)

Now it has been known for years that an outside management firm was brought in to try to turn the place around and maintain a better than satisfactory level of care, and the financial’s were filed as required and the elected and appointed officials were caught by surprise? Really? I for one dont buy it. If this is so then how many other smaller hospitals are in this predicament? Say for example Franklin in Greenfield. I digress If the Institution itself had not reported to the State the condition why didnt the elected officials communicate with NARH? There are a plethora of public health programs that the elected officials were introduced at, a perfect time to discuss the treacherous financial situation. Not to mention the union reaching out to elected officials to give campaign contributions help etc. Then there’s the whole situation of negotiating for medicaid reimbursements etc long drawn out affairs trust me i wont bore you with it but it is essentially on going year round. Then with all the talk of Obama care or the ACA I am now supposed to believe no one in the elected world went to the administration and said ” are you appropriately situated to handle the implementation of the ACA and what will it have for an impact on you?” By the way I looked at the last set of filings they dont look so good need any help? Nope evidently no mention of it. I for one am missing a warm fuzzy there.

The reopening of the ED at NARH was at best a publicity STUNT at worst an irresponcible disservice to the community from someone with little to no understanding of healthcare or good business practice. What did the great Martha Coakley hope to accomplish? So lets say the ED is open your rushed to the ER at NARH having a myocardial infarction no one is sure whats happening they think your having a heart attack but with no Labaratory open how do they validate via cardiac enzymes and push clot busters? Or do they fly blind? Oh no now your aspirating as well quick get me an RT respitary therapist stat I want to see blood gases oops no respitory department open to run the blood gas or to intubate. Quick get me to CT for a head trauma as I smashed my head hitting the dirt from my heart attack oh crap thats right ED is open but the supporting staff isnt there. I am not making this up the staff at NARH SAVED my LIFE one day in May a few years back when i showed up at the ED having a massive cornary event that ended up in quadruple bypass or cabg x4 so all though I am not real I do take this a touch personal.

I Submit opening the ED would be great but to not have a properly staffed facility to support it is fool hearty at best. All the departments mentioned above could not even start to save a life in a poorly maintained un cleaned environment just imagine the staph infections if not for a highly trained, competent housekeeping staff.

I too work in the healthcare industry, I do not work at any facility in Berkshire County (full disclosure I do work through out the North east quite often at very prestigious places I work with in the cardiac departments at the sites) when I presented at NARH with my event the ENTIRE staff was spot on in every way as up to date as competent and as qualified to do what they do as any of the staff at the other places. To those that claim Nurses or other health care professionals are making to much you simply have no clue what goes into earning that pay. Hours of CME credits continual training on new technology new drugs and techniques etc. Hours of sacrifice and at times great sorrow and burden. Yes we see miracles happen and we participate in them but we also see losses as well.

Sorry I am off my soap box. The professional staff as well as the community deserves better from our elected officials. After all as i said above healthcare is a very heavily regulated industry see why above. To bad those who requested responcibility for ensuring the process are in place to see to it in our time of need the facilities would be in place and available hvae failed us. Not the staff or unions or administration but our elected and appointed leaders.

http://www.mass.gov/chia/researcher/

Please look at this agency and the finacials fo NARH

Just sayin

ed shepardson
ed shepardson
Reply to  Joe Pinhead
7 years ago

Respiratory Therapist.

Joe Pinhead
Joe Pinhead
Reply to  Joe Pinhead
7 years ago

Thanks Ed.

Joe Pinhead
Joe Pinhead
Reply to  Joe Pinhead
7 years ago

Ed, did you take the opportunity to look at the fiscal reports? Or better yet CMR114? Any thoughts to share? Did NBHS file the reports in a timely fashion as required? If so is it not just a touch interesting no one read and reacted to them? I would think finding out who knew what when would be more important than a spelling error.

Just sayin

amandaWell
amandaWell
7 years ago

Curious to know what actions the Pittsfield Unions will take, or can they take. What support are they giving to fellow brothers and sister Union members in N A?

GMHeller
GMHeller
7 years ago

So let’s see.
Within the past few months not only have numerous local storefront businesses closed their doors including the venerable North Adams Transcript, but now a large regional hospital.
Sure seems to me that what was the Great Obama Recession has degenerated into the Great Obama Depression.
And please note which political party has a lock on everything — EVERYTHING — which happens in Massachusetts.
Oh, and let us not forget that Berkshire Health Systems’ CEO, Mr. David Phelps himself, is a former grand poo-bah in the Democrat National Committee.
You’re right, Mr. Valenti — FOLLOW THE MONEY!

The Professor and Mary Ann
The Professor and Mary Ann
7 years ago

Who will carry the story that Our Governor was at a political fundraiser in Pittsfield on The day NARH closed? But he didn’t appear at the hospital or the 5pm Community meeting attended by Alcombright,Downing and Carridi.Strange,,huh?Also,Mr Chartock praised the Guv up and down for Patrick’s close attention to the NARH situation in Saturday’s Eagle.Care to explain what our leader actually did,Mr.C?On a positive and heartening note,NA Fire and Police stood stoically in the cold with the masses and was an unfailingly helpful and supporting presence.Pray for all.

The Professor and Mary Ann
The Professor and Mary Ann
7 years ago

Amen.