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IN THE NEWS - Northern Berkshire Healthcare Awarded $1 Million Essential Community Provider Trust Fund Grant
February 04, 2009




CONTACT:              Paul Hopkins, Director of Community Relations (413) 664-5142


DATE:                       February 4, 2009


REFERENCE:         2009-05



(NORTH ADAMS, MA)  -- Today Gov. Deval Patrick awarded a $1 million grant to North Adams Regional Hospital from the state’s Essential Community Provider Trust Fund. The grant will help the hospital increase access to primary care physicians and to purchase or upgrade vital technology.


“We are extremely grateful that Gov. Patrick recognized the need for the Commonwealth to support NARH and improve its ability to serve our community,” said Richard T. Palmisano, president and CEO of Northern Berkshire Healthcare.


Palmisano also lauded the efforts of our legislators, Rep. Daniel E. Bosley, (D-North Adams) and State Senator Benjamin B. Downing (D-Pittsfield) in advocating for the grant award.


“The committed support of our delegation is commendable,” Palmisano said. “It is gratifying to have public servants like Rep. Bosley and Sen. Downing who, when we called on them for support, so effectively advocated for our community to receive the resources we need to provide high-quality health care to the vulnerable population we serve.”


The grant will be used to support purchase of the following technology: ePrescribing infrastructure that is a critical part of NARH’s electronic health record; digital EKG; digital mammography; and ultrasound equipment upgrades. The grant is especially helpful because the hospital froze its capital equipment spending, except for emergencies, as part of its Fiscal Fitness effort to close a projected $4.5 million budget gap. The grant can not be used to help close the budget gap.


In addition, the grant will support increased access to community-based physicians and the expansion of much-needed wound care serves in our community.


Rep. Bosley said, “With the Commonwealth’s health care system facing numerous cuts across all programs and as the North Adams Regional Hospital rolls out its plans to become more fiscally efficient, the $1 million grant from the state’s Essential Community Provider Trust Fund could not have come at a better time.” He added, “Over the past few years, the Hospital has undergone an expansion and improvement of services.  I am confident that this grant will allow them to continue providing Northern Berkshire County with far-reaching, reliable health care services and particularly focus on acute care and preventative medicine.”


Rep. Downing also commented on the award.


“I am thrilled that North Adams Regional Hospital has been recognized by the Patrick Administration and given this vital assistance from the Essential Community Provider Trust Fund,” Downing said. “This grant bolsters NARH’s ability to serve patients in these trying times by expanding access to physicians.  It also will advance crucial upgrades to the hospital’s information technology systems and medical equipment.”   


The goal of the Essential Community Provider Trust Fund is to improve providers’ abilities to serve populations in need more effectively and efficiently, according to a statement from the Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS). The statement said the announcement of grants marks the conclusion of a highly competitive application and evaluation process: 82 providers across the state submitted applications for funding that totaled approximately $110 million.  The Patrick administration awarded approximately $32.6 million to 69 hospitals.


In reviewing grant applications and determining award amounts, EOHHS evaluated the financial needs and role each provider plays in the Commonwealth’s health delivery system in order to maintain equitable access to key services. 




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