Hospital’s future subject of forum

Published 10:00 am Thursday, September 19, 2013

Belhaven-area residents will have an opportunity next week to ask questions about the planned closure of Vidant Pungo Hospital.

Vidant Health officials will participate in an educational forum on plans for the Belhaven hospital and the future of health-care delivery in the area from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Wilkinson Center, 144 W. Main St., Belhaven.

The forum was announced by Vidant Health and Belhaven Mayor Adam O’Neal, who had been seeking such a meeting since the town learned about Vidant Health’s plans to close the hospital, which has been in Belhaven since 1947.

“The public will have an opportunity to sign up to provide comments or ask questions, lasting up to three minutes each. You must sign up before the meeting begins in order to comment,” reads an email from Beth Anne Atkins, a spokeswoman for Vidant Health.

Dr. David Herman, Vidant Health’s president and chief executive officer, and Roger Robertson, president of Vidant Community Hospitals, are scheduled to participate in the forum, Atkins said Wednesday afternoon. Other Vidant Health officials likely will attend but not participate directly in the forum, she said.

Earlier this month, the Vidant Community Hospitals board decided to close the hospital and replace it with a multispecialty clinic that will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Plans call for a phased closing of the hospital during the next five or six months.

As services at the hospital are shut down, they will be offered at area Vidant Medical Group physician’s offices. Those services include specialty clinics, 24-hour-a-day care, laboratories, radiology and physical therapy.

Vidant Health expects to break ground on the new multispecialty clinic later this year. The new facility is expected to take about 18 months to complete.


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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