Local News

Deal reached to keep rural NC hospital open

Posted March 27, 2014 4:02 p.m. EDT

— The NAACP and Vidant Health have reached an agreement that will keep a hospital in eastern North Carolina open.

Greenville-based Vidant had planned to close Vidant Pungo Hospital in Belhaven next Tuesday, despite local protests, and replace it with an urgent care clinic. The hospital system cited financial issues, such as the state's decision not to expand Medicaid, for the closure.

The NAACP and local officials recently filed a civil rights complaint with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services over the move, noting 55 percent of Belhaven residents are black and 28 percent live in poverty.

Under a deal announced Thursday, Vidant Health will continue operating the hospital for another three months, giving the community time to put together a board that will take control of the facility on July 1.

It's unclear whether any employees will lose their jobs when the new Pungo District Hospital Board assumes control of the hospital.