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**FALL IS HERE!!! TIME FOR FALL PARADES..JOIN US FOR THE 59TH ANNUAL FALL FOLIAGE PARADE IN NORTH ADAMS ON OCTOBER 5TH.......THEN IT'S THE PITTSFIELD HALLOWEEN PARADE FRIDAY OCTOBER 24TH ON TYLER ST PITTSFIELD... SEE YOU THERE!...........******** THE MUCH AWAITED STROUDWATER “NORTHERN BERKSHIRE HEALTHCARE ASSESSMENT” REPORT REGARDING THE REBUILDING OF MEDICAL SERVICES HAS BEEN COMPLETED. HARD COPIES OF THE REPORT CAN BE VIEWED AT THE PUBLIC LIBRARY AND IN THE CITY CLERK’S OFFICE. IN THAT REGARD, THERE WILL BE TWO PUBLIC MEETINGS, BOTH TO BE HELD AT THE MCLA CHURCH STREET CENTER. THEY WILL BE HELD THIS COMING TUESDAY AT 5:30 P.M. AND WEDNESDAY AT 9:30 A.M. AND THE MAYOR ENCOURAGES ALL INTERESTED COMMUNITY MEMBERS TO ATTEND THESE IMPORTANT SESSIONS. THE REPORT WILL BE REVIEWED AT THESE MEETINGS BY BRIAN HAPPALA OF STROUDWATER AND HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES SECRETARY JOHN POLANOWICZ. ************.…………… WHOOPEE FM!*****

Cheryl on the Whoopee in the Morning Show

 


Hospital Meeting

from I Berkshires...

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — A report detailing in hard numbers the health care needs of the community — one that does not include a full-service hospital — has been a hard pill for residents to swallow.

More than 150 people attended a review on Tuesday night of a community health needs study commissioned by the state, a report expected to shape the future delivery of health care in North County.

While there was plenty of thanks for Berkshire Medical Center's prompt reopening of what had been North Adams Regional Hospital's emergency room, many are concerned about the report's pessimistic outlook on the hospital's revival.

"Your report may make perfect sense. We don't want perfect sense, we want a hospital," said artist and local businessman Eric Rudd. "If this is about money than you fail to determine the long-term consequences."

To loud applause, Rudd called for "creative leadership" in determining the next steps on providing essential health care services.

The report by Stroudwater Associates, commissioned by the state, is recommending a focus on bulking up primary-care delivery and investing in wellness initiatives.

"We're going to do everything we can to make the report a reality," said Secretary of Health and Human Services John Polanowicz.

Brian Haapala of Stroudwater went through a page-by-page review of the 107-page report's summary of recommendations and findings.

The study looked at current needs and health-care trends using data and community input.

"Then we looked at how things are expected to be changed in the future," he said. "It is as complicated in your community as it is at the national level."

The charge was not to look at the factors leading to the abrupt closure of the hospital in March, but use its patient data as part of a broader look at regional trends.

It also looked at key issues in the health-care industry, said Haapala.

"We are on an unsustainable cost escalation," he said. "We can't continue to spend more and more."

Health care spending overall is expected to double in the coming years; at the same time, individuals are paying more and more out-of-pocket as deductibles rise.

The question was how to weed out the inappropriate and focus on what the community overwhelming said it wanted: health, wellness and prevention.

Many of the comments received from the community had to do with environmental and behavioral factors: obesity, drug abuse, smoking. More than a third said they had difficulty getting to a doctor, either because of transportation or long waits for appointments.

The report recommended that the region develop better access to preventive and primary care.

"At least an additional six full-time physicians are needed," said Haapala, who added Berkshire Health Systems is working on a grant targeted to areas with a shortage of primary-care physicians.

Health center groups in Southern Berkshire have also applied for grants to expand into North County.

What the study also found was that half the people in the area expected to use NARH had actually been going elsewhere for various reasons, including a lack of specialties.

What they were using was the emergency department on an increasing basis, often because of lack of access to doctors. Three out of four patients "didn't even classify being emergent," he said. That verified the need for emergency care that Berkshire Medical Center was willing to provide through its emergency satellite facility.

At the same time, the hospital was admitting more patients per population than the national and state average. But the trend is fewer admissions and more outpatient services.

The study calculated a need for 18 to 21 beds, but only if federal Critical Care Access designation could be achieved.

Haapala said there was at least a $2 million gap in direct service costs in duplicating existing services provided by Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield.

"You have a gap that would have to be subsidized [by CCA] to offer that service," he said. "Absent that, those dollars can be better served somewhere else."

It was a $2 million gap that some in the audience grabbed at in arguing for a full-service hospital could be reinstated. Especially, as one man described, attaining CCA designation after already being rejected was "a long shot."

Resident John Lipa argued that NARH had made $60 million in patient-related services according to past tax returns.

"Why can't a business making $60 million make it?" he asked. "We need to find some way to provide inpatient services in an effective way."

Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art just received $25 million and Hoosic River Revival, $8.8 million in state funds, said Rudd. "We can't find $2 million to keep our hospital going?"

Thatcher Kent of Western Massachusetts Labor Action asked why Berkshire Health Systems couldn't subsidize the $2 million, pointing to Fairview Hospital's touting its care for second homeowners in South County.

"We have communities really struggling economically here," he said. "Is that the difference we see in care in the two communities?"

Haapala and Polanowicz said the calculation was more complicated and they would find a better way to explain it.

Haapala will repeat his talk on Wednesday morning at 9:30, also at the Church Street Center.

The community will have to decide what to do as the next step, a decision that will have to fully involve Berkshire Health Systems.

"You're going to have to work together," said Polanowicz. "This is going to be done with you all working together ... a big part of this is going to be trusting that Berkshire Health Systems will do the right thing for the community."



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Fall in the Berkshires!





2014 Parade

Join us for the 59th Annual Fall Foliage Festival Parade on Sunday, October 5, 2014. Participants will help celebrate 100 years of adventure and culture in the Mohawk Trail Region with this year's theme - 100th Anniversary of the Mohawk Trail!


ONGOING:

Fall Foliage Festival Annual Leaf Hunt
This event dates back to 1965. Brightly colored paper leaves will be hidden around the North Berkshire area in scenic locales. Clues will be published in the Transcript and iBerkshires.com. Contestants who find these leaves will be awarded prizes by the festival committee.

SATURDAY, Sept. 28

North Adams Farmers Market
St. Anthony Municipal Parking Lot
Intersection of Route 8 and Marshall St. and St. Anthony Drive.
413-664-6180
9am-1pm
FREE

The North Adams Farmers Market provides its customers with fresh, quality, locally grown produce and products in a safe and fun environment. Patrons of the market can find fresh fruits and vegetables, canned goods, baked goods, eggs and meat. The market also includes workshops on composting, seed saving and more.

Albert Cummings ROPES Benefit Concert
Joe Wolfe Field (SteepleCats Stadium)
State Street
Gates open at 5:30 / Music begins at 7
$20 in advance / $22 at the gate
Purchase tickets here: www.northernberkshireropes.com

Support the Northern Berkshire Youth R.O.P.E.S. Summer Camp and listen to some great music all in one night! Albert Cummings takes the stage at Joe Wolfe Field for a one-night-only concert in a unique North Adams venue. Albert's innovative blues music is something you won't want to miss! A full concession stand will be run by the North Adams SteepleCats. The R.O.PE.S. Camp is a free one-week camp for students from participating cities and towns who are have met the eligibility criteria. The camp is staffed by volunteers from the North Adams Police Department, Fire Department, and Ambulance Service. The camp relies on donations in order to provide this free experience to area youth. Email northernberkshireropes@yahoo.coom with any questions.

SUNDAY, Sept. 29


Fall Foliage Arts & Crafts Fair
Main St. North Adams
413-664-6180
10am-3pm
FREE to attend

The Fall Foliage Arts & Crafts Fair is a time-honored tradition of the festival. Crafters, artists, and food proeucers of all kinds will line the street and sell their wares. For information on how to register to become a vendor call Veronica at 413-664-6180 or email tourism@northadams-ma.gov.

THURSDAY, Oct. 3

Fall Foliage Ziti Supper
St. Elizabeth's of Hungary
70 Marshall Street
(413)663-7331
4-7pm
St. Elizabeth's of Hungary will hold its annual ziti supper at the Parish Center. Dinner includes ziti and meatballs, salad, bread and butter, and a beverage. Desserts will also be available.

FRIDAY, Oct. 4

Annual Children's Parade
Downtown North Adams
Corner of Main Street and Eagle Street
5pm lineup, 5:30 parade
(413)664-6180
FREE

Children from throughout the Northern Berkshire's are encouraged to make costumes and enter the parade. This year's theme is "Haunts, Legends, and Ghost Stories". Participants must arrive at the corner of Main and Eagle streets at 5pm. Parade begins at 5:30pm and will proceed west on Main St. to City Hall. Ribbons will be given to all participants. Group and float winners will be invited to participate in the Gall Foliage Parade on Sunday, October 6. Please note that groups should be 10 or less children, as there are only 10 metals that will be awarded per category/prize.

Lasagna Dinner at Eagles
Fraternal Order of the Eagles
515 Curran Highway
(413)664-9043
$10

'Carb up' at the Eagles in preparation for a busy Fall Foliage Parade weekend! Join your friends and your neighbors at this annual community dinner.

SATURDAY, Oct 5

North Adams Farmers Market: Bring Your Dog to the Market
St. Anthony Municipal Parking Lot
Corner of Marshall Street and St. Anthony Drive
(413)664-6180
9am-1pm
FREE

The Farmers Market is one of the most pet-friendly places in the city! Help us celebrate the Dog Day of Fall by bringing your dog to the market. Special market vendors will include animal rescue agencies and animal-themed products. As always, patrons of the market can find fresh fruits and vegetables, cheese, canned goods, baked goods, eggs, and meat. For more information or a schedule of events, call or e-mail tourism@northadams-ma.gov.

4th Annual Dog Parade
Veteran's Memorial Park
Corner of Eagle Street and Route 2
10am – 11:30am (registration begins at 9am)
FREE (but donations to local animal rescues are accepted)

All dogs are encouraged to participate. Owners are encouraged to make costumes and enter their dogs into this parade. This year's parade theme is "Haunts, Legends, and Ghost Stories." Categories are: funniest, best duo (owner and dog), best group (dogs), best small dog, best medium-sized dog, and best large dog. Prizes will be awarded following the parade and ribbons will be given to all participants. Dog parade winners will be invited to participate in the Fall Foliage Parade on Sunday, October 6.

Children's Road Race and Fair
Noel Field, near the walking track
310 State Street
(413)663-9062
11am-1pm
FREE

Fun, give-a-ways, and games for children of all ages. Registration for the road race begins at 11am, with races beginning promptly at 12pm. Five division for boys and girls: Senior (10-11 year olds); Junior (8-9 year olds); Peewee (6-7 year olds); Pre-school (4-5 year olds); Tots (3 and under).

Fall Foliage Dance
Fraternal Order of the Eagles
515 Curran Highway
(413)664-9043
9pm-1am
$5

Enjoy live music from 2 bands: Phil n' the Void and Static and celebrate the fall season in style at this annual affair sponsored by the Eagles!

SUNDAY, Oct. 6

All You Can Eat Breakfast
Fraternal Order of the Eagles
515 Curran Highway
(413)664-9043
7-11am
$6 general price / $5 adult seniors and children under 10

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day – especially on Parade Day! What better way to start your day than with an all you can eat breakfast!

Annual 5k Road Race
The North Adams Transcript
85 Main St
(413)663-3741
12 pm
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