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Louisburg hospital eliminating most inpatient care

Posted October 14, 2014

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— Novant Health officials said Tuesday that the focus of Franklin Medical Center in Louisburg is shifting to outpatient and emergency services.

The hospital stopped accepting inpatients on Tuesday – current patients will be cared for until they are discharged – and has cut the number of its inpatient beds for acute care from 70 to two. It plans to retain another 13 inpatient beds for older patients with dementia or other behavioral problems.

As part of the changes, 59 employees – 29 percent of the hospital's staff – were laid off Tuesday.

"Hospitals in North Carolina and across the nation feel the effects of declining demand for inpatient care combined with reduced payer reimbursement. With the changes occurring in health care, a realignment of our services is necessary to preserve our ability to provide care for our community," Patrick Easterling, Novant's senior vice president for consumer operations, said in a statement. "As we shift our focus to outpatient services, we understand this impacts our staff and patients. We greatly appreciate the support of the community as we move forward with this plan."

Carl Galebach, whose mother-in-law is a patient at Franklin Medical Center, said the hospital is convenient because the family lives nearby, and he doesn't like the prospect of having to go to Wake Forest, Henderson or Rocky Mount for inpatient care in the future.

"That wouldn't be a good idea," Galebach said. "That's not a good plan for me. I would hate it."

Novant spokeswoman Caryn Klebba said 65 of Franklin Medical Center's inpatient beds are empty on an average day, and the hospital is on course to lose $6.1 million this year. So, its business model needs to change, she said.

Franklin Medical Center will maintain its emergency and outpatient services, including surgery, imaging, laboratory, rehabilitation, infusion and the geriatric behavior health unit that opened in 2012. Officials said the hospital is not delicensing any beds or operating rooms and intends to remain a licensed acute care hospital.

Joseph Zigre said he has visited the hospital's emergency room several times and is relieved to know that Franklin Medical Center will continue to be a licensed acute care hospital.

"When you have two small children, they fall, they get hurt, anything can happen," Zigre said. "It's important for us to know that we have someone here in town that'll take care of your family."

Still, he echoed Galebach's concerns about the loss of inpatient care locally.

"If you're sick and you're really sick and you come here and you need to be treated, then they have to move you. That's a concern," he said.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • diana123 Oct 15, 2014

    they might as well close

  • tri123 Oct 15, 2014

    View quoted thread

    Actually, it means MCCRORY No-Care. Someone else asked why all of NC's rural hospitals are closing. That's why: Because we are a state that turned down Medicaid Expansion. An article last week on WRAL linked at least one death directly to the reduction in hospitals (a heart-attack patient who had to be flown to another county because her county no longer as a hospital). Someone else asked what about with ebola. It's not about ebola, how about a bad flu season and we start rationing out ventilators to children at the few remaining hospitals. NC's GOP was willing to cut off your nose to spite Obama and this is where it has gotten us.

  • 68_dodge_polara Oct 15, 2014

    No more inpatient care? Could the timing be worse with the ebola coming?

  • bmac813 Oct 15, 2014

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    This is just the Beginning. My wife's Ins. went up $105 a Month last Year, I can't wait to see what it will go to This Year.

  • Jack Harris Oct 15, 2014
    user avatar

    Am I the only one that read the third paragraph that stated due to "reduced payer reimbursement" means OBAMA care??

  • justabumer Oct 14, 2014

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    Actually my health insurance does pay for the use of a fitness center.

  • Great Dane Guy Oct 14, 2014

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    Back in 2007, the state denied a request to build a modern hospital in Youngsville. I imagine (hope) that will come to fruition now.
    It wouldn't surprise me at all if the existing hospital is eventually razed and re-developed to operate as a satellite campus for some hospital franchise.

  • Donald Holder Oct 14, 2014
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    I'm sure WakeMed already has the request in.

  • btneast Oct 14, 2014

    So people who live in the city are the only ones worthy of healthcare? Go back and read the article a little more closely this time. You aren't losing any healthcare. They will still be there providing emergency and outpatient care. Most everything these days is outpatient anyway. Anything more serious, most people would want to have done in a more advanced facility anyway, or a facility that specializes in your particular malady.

  • btneast Oct 14, 2014

    This facility has been going downhill since you allowed privatization. Sadly, people in the Louisburg area will now have to drive 30 minutes plus for care.Very few if any counties have county owned hospitals. They allowed privatization because the county couldn't afford to keep running it. People in Louisburg can still get medical treatment there, just no overnight stays. BTW, most things are outpatient these days anyway. It's pretty much accepted fact that staying in a hospital is not a good thing....way more opportunities to pick all kinds of things.