NORTH ADAMS HOSPITAL UPDATE -- NO LEGAL REQUEST TO LIQUIDATE YET -- A check at 10:44 p.m. tonight of the "Pacer" online access to federal-court filings shows that Northern Berkshire Health Systems has not filed for a conversion to Chapter 7 liquidation of it's 2011 Chapter 11 reorganization case in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Worcester. This could suggest that negotiations are underway for some other solution besides closure. The hospital's law firm, Ropes and Grey in Boston, has declined comment.
This is a blog post, not a news story, which means the information may not be verified to the standards of traditional reporting. But here's a peak behind the scenes of what are likely frantic efforts to save some semblance of health-care services for the Greylock region, with the pending possible closing of North Adams Regional Hospital.
- State Rep. Gailanne Cariddi has been spending the day in Boston trying to work with key legislative leaders, the governor and regulators. At mid-morning on Wednesday she said she was looking at trying to get an emergency bill under consideration that would change the Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement rates paid to NARH. She said she understood some $3 million might be needed to keep the hospital from closing immediately. That's what she told this blogger. As the day's gone one, she is less sure of what action is required or possible, apparently.
- As of 11 a.m. today, the hospital had not filed any new motions or pleadings in the Chapter 11 reorganization proceeding it filed June 13, 2011 in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Worcester (In re Northern Berkshire Healthcare, Inc., et al., Reorganized Debtors, Case No. 11-31114 (HJB)). One might expect if the hospital were closing that it would file a motion to convert the pleadings from Chapter 11 (a reorganization) to a Chapter 7 case (a liquidation). This could have implications for contracts with unions and pensioners.
- The lawyer-of-record for Northern Berkshire Health Care Inc., in the bankruptcy case, James A. Wright III of the Boston law firm of Ropes & Gray LLP, decline comment when reached by phone, referring inquiries to the hospital system. Hospital spokesman Paul Hopkins did not return a phone call.
- However, another person involved ine the bankruptcy case, speaking anonymously, suggested that there was no reason for the hospital system to take any legal action, even though the case is still pending before U.S District Judge Henry J. Boroff. This commentator speculated that while Judge Boroff might as a technical matter of law be able to order actions by the debtor-in-possession of the hospital, such as ordering them to stay open pending receipt of emergency funding from the state, it would be an unusual procedure for such a court.