Hospital workers may get severance packagesPublished 5:28pm Thursday, September 5, 2013
Hospital workers may get severance packages
By MIKE VOSS
Washington Daily News
Vidant Health will help Vidant Pungo Hospital employees who will lose their jobs because of the hospital’s closure during next five to six months find other jobs within the Vidant Health system, according to a Vidant Health spokeswoman.
“We will make every effort to reduce the number of jobs affected by placing them in other Vidant Health facilities, as well as working with individuals to help locate positions outside of our system,” wrote Beth Atkins in an email sent to the Washington Daily News on Wednesday afternoon.
The hospital in Belhaven has 127 employees, according to Atkins.
“If we are unable to place employees, there will be packages offered,” Atkins replied to a question concerning severance packages for employees who lose their jobs.
As for what those severance packages might include, “It will be individualized depending on the employee’s years of service and salary,” Atkins wrote in the email.
The phased closing of the hospital, with a presence in Belhaven since 1947, was announced Wednesday morning by Vidant Health officials. Those officials also announced the hospital, located on Belhaven’s waterfront, will be replaced with an around-the-clock, seven-days-a-week multi-specialty clinic.
Some Belhaven residents, including Mayor Adam O’Neal, are concerned a gap in health-care coverage will occur between the hospital’s closing and the opening of the new clinic, which is expected to take 18 months to complete once construction begins. According to O’Neal, Vidant Health officials have indicated that physicians in the Belhaven community will be responsible for providing emergency care to some degree. O’Neal said those physicians do not have the necessary equipment, such as X-ray machines, to provide such medical treatment.
Vidant Health officials have said Belhaven-area residents and residents in mainland Hyde County who have been using the hospital in Belhaven have the options of going to other Vidant Health hospitals, Vidant Beaufort Hospital in Washington (about 30 miles from Belhaven) or The Outer Banks Hospital.
A Vidant Health news release reads, in part, “As services are transferred out of the hospital, they will be offered at local Vidant Medical Group physician practices. These services include radiology, labs, physical therapy, specialty clinics and 24 hour-a-day care.”