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Athol Memorial Hospital ER could get $2 million boost

ATHOL — Athol Memorial Hospital could get a funding boost to improve its emergency department.

The state Senate passed a bill authorizing up to $1.3 billion in spending over the next five years for the improvement of facilities across the state. Within the bill is $2 million for the expansion and modernization of the local hospital’s emergency department.

The hospital serves the North Quabbin region and operates a 24/7 emergency department that provides acute treatment services, stabilization and transport services.

“Athol Hospital is critical in providing around-the-clock emergency services to the North Quabbin region,” said Sen. Stephen Brewer, D-Barre, a proponent of the funding. “The expansion and modernization that will be possible with the capital authorized in this legislation will provide the adequate resources to increase patients served while securing their privacy and safety.”

The funding, however, is not final.

The Senate bill and a parallel House bill will go to a conference committee to produce a compromise for final enactment by the governor. Once a bond bill is signed into law, the administration has control over spending of all borrowed funds.

If approved, the funding would support a proposed two-story addition at the northeast corner of the existing hospital, with a new emergency department on the lower level and a new, fully accessible main entrance and lobby on the upper level.

The current emergency department gives no patient privacy and no inadequate storage and staff work space, according to Brewer.

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