Town to rally for hospitalPublished 6:14pm Tuesday, September 3, 2013
A rally to support Vidant Pungo Hospital’s future in Belhaven is set for 6 p.m. Thursday.
The rally will be held on Main Street near the town’s municipal building.
The rally is scheduled for the day after Vidant Health officials were to meet to discuss the hospital, which has been in Belhaven since 1947.
A special meeting has been scheduled for 9 a.m. today to discuss the matter. The meeting is set to take place at Vidant Health’s administrative building in Greenville.
“The purpose of the meeting is to discuss and take action, if appropriate, on certain outpatient health care service alternatives and, if necessary, to go into Closed Session,” reads a press release issued by Vidant Health CEO Dr. David Herman and other Vidant Health officials.
“What we are interested in showing to the world, particularly to Vidant, is a lot of people here care about how Pungo District continues to fit into the Belhaven economy,” Town Manager Guinn Leverett said Tuesday.
Leverett said it’s been “a little” frustrating not hearing anything from Vidant officials concerning the future of the hospital. Leverett said there are several rumors going around about the hospital, including one that it will be closed.
“We have no idea. We’ve had no contact with Vidant at all,” Leverett said. “Everybody here is in the dark because there is no information out there.”
The hospital is one of the town’s largest utilities customers. Losing the hospital as a utilities customer would affect the town’s finances, he noted.
When Vidant Health bought the hospital about 18 months ago, Leverett said, some people had hopes the aging, red-brick facility would be replaced with a new facility. In those 18 months, area residents have been satisfied with the service provided at the hospital.
Residents and town officials knew changes were likely after Vidant bought the hospital.
“We understand that there will be changes made. We understand that. People of good will can figure out how to make necessary changes in a cooperative way, in a way that provides the same kinds of medical services and care we are sued to getting. That’s not an unreasonable thing,” Leverett said.
Attempts to contact Vidant officials for comments on the hospital were not successful.