Concerns over hospital’s future surface

Published 7:31 pm Saturday, August 31, 2013

Some area residents fear Vidant Pungo Hospital may be on life support, with a decision to pull the plug possibly coming at anytime.
A special meeting has been scheduled for 9 a.m. Wednesday 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.
While area residents worry about the future of the Belhaven hospital, Herman offered his  in Belhaven and the surrounding communities. No decisions have been made regarding the immediate future of Vidant Pungo Hospital.”
The hospital lost more than $1.8 million last year, according to Vidant Health officials in Greenville.
If the hospital closes, the nearest hospital would be Vidant Beaufort Hospital in Washington and Washington County Hospital in Plymouth.
Belhaven Mayor Adam O’Neal has said the town has great interest in what may happen with the hospital as it relates to providing health care to Belhaven residents and others who live near the hospital. The mayor said the town would like to be kept apprised about the issue so it knows what’s going on and can react accordingly.
The possibility of Vidant Pungo Hospital closing its doors was discussed during the meeting of the Beaufort County Hospital Authority’s board meeting Thursday.
“It’s been rumored for some time,” said board Chairman Hood Richardson, a Beaufort County Commissioner.
“The news just broke in the newspaper (Wednesday) that they’re (Vidant Health) going to close the Pungo hospital. Now, they haven’t actually said they’re going to close the Pungo hospital, but they’re making all the kinds of moves you make before something like this happens,” Richardson said.view on the matter by way of an email. That email notes no final decision about the 49-bed hospital has been made.
“We are always looking for the most effective ways to deliver local care across our system,” reads part of Herman’s email. “We have known since they joined our system that we must have a long-term plan related to the current facility. … We are now engaged in finding the best solution to meet the needs of these communities while continuing to deliver quality care.”
Asked to comment on the matter, Vidant Health issued this statement: “Delivering care locally is a vital part of the Vidant Health mission, and Vidant Health is committed to providing care locally

About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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