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Deerfield voters approve resolution calling on Baystate Health System to keep services in Greenfield

— Voters here have overwhelmingly supported a resolution calling on Baystate Health System to keep services and resources at the Baystate Franklin Medical Center in Greenfield.

At its Monday annual town meeting, Deerfield was the first of 10 Franklin County towns to vote on the resolution. It will be taken up at meetings in the next three weeks in Montague, Hawley, Shelburne, Colrain, Erving, Buckland, Whately, Heath and Leyden.

There was little debate on the resolution, and all but one hand of 113 residents in attendance was raised to support it.

The resolution was put forth by local residents and the registered nurses of Baystate Franklin Medical Center following a community forum held in March concerning the future of the hospital.

The citizen’s petition calls for Baystate Health System — the parent company of the Greenfield hospital — to maintain health services at the Baystate Franklin Medical Center rather than moving any services to its flagship 40 miles south in Springfield, the regional trauma center Baystate Medical Center.

Petitioners want to ensure the Greenfield hospital remains a viable community hospital.

“We feel this hospital system is an extremely wealthy system. We’d like to keep the hospital a community hospital. We’d like to see it remain strong,” Geoff Brown, a Deerfield resident and long-time nurse at Baystate Franklin, said at the town meeting.

In a statement, Brown explained, “Members of this community are deeply concerned about the loss of valuable services at (Baystate Franklin) in recent years and this resolution is an attempt to communicate that concern to the leadership of Baystate Health.

The former Franklin Medical Center was founded in 1895 as a independent community hospital. In 1986, Baystate Health took over Franklin Medical Center. Baystate has disputed the assertion that it has moved or plans to moved local services to the regional hospital.

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