The failure to expand Medicaid appeared to have sealed the fate of Vidant Pungo Hospital in the small town of Belhaven. Now, there appears to be some promising news in the fight to keep services flowing from a hospital that served many lower income North Carolinians. Congrats to our own Adam Linker for his fine work in making this happen. This is from the NAACP:
GREENVILLE, NC -The North Carolina NAACP, the NAACP Branches in Hyde and Beaufort Counties and the leadership of Vidant Health are pleased to announce this morning at 9 am that they have worked out an agreement to keep Vidant Pungo Hospital open.
Vidant Pungo Hospital and its emergency facilities will remain open and operated by Vidant Health through July 1, 2014. Over the next three months, Vidant Health will work with the community to help them establish a representative community-based board that will accept full operating control of the hospital in a transfer by July 1, 2014.
We wish to thank Mayor Adam O’Neal of Belhaven – who has worked tirelessly on the behalf of his constituents – health policy analyst Adam Linker from the N.C. Justice Center and the Mediation Service of the U.S. Department of Justice for their assistance in reaching this agreement.
The employees of the hospital have been notified they will retain their positions through June 30, 2014, and we hope virtually all of them will retain their positions when the newly-formed Pungo District Hospital Board takes over the operation of the hospital by that date. We understand that the uncertainty surrounding the future of the hospital in Belhaven, N.C. has been stressful for the employees of the hospital and the community at large. We want to assure the hospital’s employees and community that both parties are committed to the terms of this agreement.
Vidant Health and the NC NAACP will jointly participate in a Community Meeting in Belhaven a week from today, April 3 at 6 p.m. We hope to be able to share with the public and the media more details of this wonderful news at that time.
Today, however, let us rejoice. The Vidant Pungo Hospital is open. Vidant Health and local community leaders are working together to maintain and strengthen the present hospital, with the possibility of it being a model rural community hospital in the east, and perhaps in the nation.