Belhaven hospital closing

Published September 8, 2013

By Tom Campbell

by Tom Campbell, NC SPIN, September 8, 2013.

Vidant Health Systems, in Greenville, announced this week that they were closing their Pungo hospital in Belhaven. 90 or more jobs will be lost and patients in the region will be without hospital care, creating an immediate and negative response in the town of 1,700 people The reason for closing, Vidant says, is because our state opted not to expand Medicaid, as allowed by the Affordable Care Act.

Even the national media has picked up the story, bemoaning the state’s decision not to expand Medicaid.

But nobody has bothered to ask the question behind the question. Is Medicaid the only thing standing between this hospital being viable or not? We’re not experts on hospital administration but it seems that this hospital probably is not, and likely will never be economically viable with or without Medicaid expansion. It is a shame that residents in Belhaven and the nearby area will be losing the services of this hospital but wouldn’t it have been more honest for Vidant to have just said they could no long afford to provide service to the area than to place the blame on our legislature and governor?

September 8, 2013 at 5:35 pm
Tom Hauck says:

Thank you for an honest column.

As you say, was government spending the only thing keeping this hospital in operation?

How did it manage to operate since opening without the additional Medicaid funds?

Thanks again.

September 9, 2013 at 10:26 am
Norm Kelly says:

If this facility was dependent on government spending to stay open, then why is it that under Obamacare the facility won't stay open.

Whether the payments come from Obamacare under federal regulation/control or the payments come from Obamacare under state regulation/control (under federal control!) makes a difference? Government payments aren't government payments?

Clearly I'm not an expert on Obamacare regulations. But, then, who exactly is an expert? How can anyone look at a pile of paper 7' tall (and growing!) and claim they are an expert? There are enough regulations & rules in that 7 foot tall pile of paper to make anyone throw in the towel.

I expect this is the first of many hospitals & facilities nationwide that will be closing BECAUSE of Obamacare. Everyone, liberal & conservative, needs to remember that Obamacare is a federal program that allows states EXTREMELY little flexibility. And as the program grows, and starts to collapse under it's own weight, the only response from Washington will be more regulation & control. They won't admit failure. They will claim that a lack of federal oversight is what's causing the problems. And just like every other case where Washington gets involved, the solution will be more direct control from Washington.

Once again, central government will fail. But big government types, like Obama, Pelosi, Hagan will simply blame Republicans and the free enterprise system. (remember hagan is a supporter of socialized medicine. she tried to get the name changed to be more reflective of it's true nature. she asked her colleagues to change the name to "single payer system". since this reflected the true nature of it as socialized medicine, she was overruled by her party.)

September 9, 2013 at 10:29 am
Norm Kelly says:

I wonder how long before the N&O and WRAL pick up on this story.

They won't question the statements from Vidant like Tom did. They will just continue to blame the Republicans in control of NC. Every chance they get, "major" media outlets will continue the line that Republicans are trying to harm the poor & elderly.

And then some people will wonder why the polls show Republicans are held in such low regard by NC voters. Never a positive story. Never the full story. Just spew out what "feels good".