Hospital workers may get severance packages

Published 5:28 pm Thursday, September 5, 2013

Suggested headline:

Hospital workers may get severance packages




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.”










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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