by Eric Byler, Story of America
Vidant Health, a system of hospitals serving 29 counties in North Carolina's "Black Belt," announced six months ago that it would be closing the Vidant Pungo Hospital in Belhaven, NC, which they had purchased two years earlier.
When they obtained the hospital from Pantego Creek, LLC, Vidant Health signed a contract promising that the hospital would remain open, promising to improve services. The original purpose of this meeting was to hear a proposal from Rural Community Hospitals of America (RCHA), contradicting Vidant Health's claim that the hospital cannot be run more efficiently, and offering to do so, as RCHA has done in more than 200 small towns across the country. For this to happen, Pantego Creek, LLC would have to take action to reacquire the hospital (presumably through legal action over breach of contract).
On January 8, 2014, Belhaven's Mayor Adam O'Neal had asked the Town Council to approve funds that would allow RCHA to conduct the in-depth study of Vidant Pungo Hospital's prospects and financial outlook. On Feb. 24, RCHA presented the findings to the Town Council and a packed house of concerned citizens, the overwhelming majority of whom wanted the hospital not to be shut down. [MORE]
NOTE: Vidant Health declined our request for an interview, and declined our offer to issue a written statement
Via Eric Byler