Vidant to close Behavioral Health inpatient unit

Published 5:46 pm Friday, July 12, 2019

Vidant Beaufort Hospital announced Wednesday that its behavioral health facility will close next month.

The inpatient unit of Vidant Behavioral Health, located on the fourth floor of the Washington hospital, is one of three Vidant inpatient behavioral health facilities in eastern North Carolina. The others are located at Vidant Medical Center in Greenville and Vidant Roanoke-Chowan Hospital in Ahoskie.

According to Pam Shadle, Vidant Beaufort’s director of marketing and community outreach and development, the decision to close the facility did not come lightly.

“Vidant Health is always evaluating the needs of the communities we serve to ensure we can continue to meet those needs today and in the future. Given the complexity of delivering health care in rural communities and the challenges resulting from decisions by state and federal governments, to include Medicaid transformation, uncertainties with the State Health Plan and constantly changing regulations, it is necessary for us to transition inpatient behavioral health at Beaufort to other Vidant inpatient programs starting mid-August,” Shadle wrote in an email. “Importantly, the community will continue to have local access to behavioral health services in and around Beaufort County. Our community members and patients alike are always at the forefront of our decisions. We want to ensure high quality, specialized care continues to be available in eastern North Carolina for decades to come.

“Difficult decisions like this are not made in haste. Vidant is committed to its mission to improve the health and well-being of eastern North Carolina,” Shadle concluded.

The 19-bed facility consistently housed 14 to 17 patients, according to a source familiar with the facility. When Behavioral Health closes, Beaufort County will have no comparable inpatient facility. Though the Ray G. Silverthorne Crisis Center in Washington does have some beds, that facility focuses on drug and alcohol rehab.

After mid-August, candidates for inpatient services will be housed in the Vidant Emergency Department until placement can be found at another facility, in Greenville or Ahoskie, the source stated.