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CHP Looks to Add Physicians, Services in North County
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
01:19AM / Friday, March 17, 2017
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Lia Spiliotes, CEO of Community Health Programs, said the practice hopes to add physicians and wraparound services to fill out its new offices.

BHS's Sean Jennings, center, said $20 million has been invested in the former hospital campus.

CHP hosted a joint chamber event in its new offices on the third floor of BMC North.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Community Health Programs has opened its renovated offices on the North Adams Campus of Berkshire Medical Center and hopes to add new doctors to its North County practice.

Members of 1Berkshire and the North Adams Chamber of Commerce got to tour the new offices at a joint chamber event on Wednesday catered by Bounti-Fare and Kelly's Package Store. CHP moved into the former 3rd North wing of the hospital last December.

"What you saw is a renovation that we finished about two weeks ago, you can see that we're still working to outfit some of the rooms," said Lia Spiliotes, CEO of Community Health Programs. "We have now 17 exam rooms in total which can support nine providers ...

"We've been light on providers in this particular facility but things have turned for us and we have some additional candidates coming in who will be permanent hires for us, we hope. We have our fingers crossed."

The practice, formerly Northern Berkshire Family Practice, has three medical assistants, two licensed practical nurses and Dr. Anping Han, plus Dr. Thomas B. Irwin once a week. Temporary support includes several practioners and another doctor.

Spiliotes said CHP also picked up a lot of Dr. Shaohua Tang's patients after his practice was forced to close early last year. CHP now services some 3,000 patients and is accepting new ones.

"We accepted 71 patients in the last month, that's a lot," she said. "You take that and you figure how many more patients are there out there for us, it's just going to be a matter of time before those exam rooms are filled."

The practice also has consulting rooms that Spiliotes envisions being used for support services such as behavioral health or nutritional consulting.

"Should we decide to do something like acupuncture or any of the wraparound services for our patients, we can actually house them here so it's like a one-stop shop," she said.  

CHP is among the latest medical services to open on the campus, formerly the North Adams Regional Hospital. Berkshire Health Systems acquired the property after the hospital closed in 2014 and, since then, has invested some $20 million into the facility, said Sean Jennings, vice president of support services and the executive for the North Adams campus. He credited the local trades who have been renovating large parts of the former hospital building, saying their work has been phenomenal.

"There's been an enormous amount of investment to bring more essential services here," Jennings said, ticking off a long list of services restored or established including the satellite emergency facility opened in the wake of closure at the request of the state.

The newest addition is general surgery on the campus and Berkshire Medical Center has added two new orthopedic surgeons, one of whom, Dr. Mahlon Bradley, treated Olympic skater Nancy Kerrigan after her knee was infamously clubbed.

"We definitely look forward to increasing and adding services but I can't guarantee it will ever be an inpatient hospital again," Jennings said. "We've been very careful in what we add to make sure it's viable and sustainable for this community."

Spiliotes said BHS has been "a great partner and collaborator to us."

"This is a very rich office building done to the highest excellence," she said, adding she hoped those who had suffered through the loss of the hospital were proud of what's happened since.

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