Duelling narratives on the plight of Pungo Hospital

The difference between "profitable" and "for the public good":

Instead, O’Neal welcomed the North Carolina NAACP to assist him in painting Vidant as a corporate bully more interested in huge profits than providing quick access to emergency care for the rural, mostly poor residents in and around Belhaven. That narrative simply is not supported by the political and economic realities that led to the closing of Pungo Hospital earlier this month.

The hospital has seen $5.7 million in operating losses since 2011. Federal grants designed to sustain health care services in poor, rural areas have been cut back. That, combined with North Carolina’s refusal to accept Medicaid expansion dollars, contributes largely to an unsustainable business model for a traditional hospital in Belhaven.

Proving that even though all your facts may be in order, you can still be wrong. The hospital was originally constructed to make sure low income folks could receive proper health care, regardless of whether or not said care would be profitable for whoever had the keys to the place. Vidant was well aware of the financial challenges when it purchased the hospital, and so were the people behind the sale:

Pungo District Hospital in Belhaven, NC, a critical access hospital, was built in 1949 as a community hospital that would serve everyone regardless of income.

In 2011, it was bought by Vidant Health with a promise to expand it. After two years, Vidant announced it would close the hospital for financial reasons.

Based on a business plan sponsored by the town of Belhaven and vetted by three independent consulting companies, we know that Pungo Hospital can be viable.

This is not an isolated unique case. This is a trend, and one which will cost lives if not rectified.


Well, I tried

Unless it's working for you and not for me, it appears something is wonky with the livestream. It's not the first time this has happened. The organizations promoting the events have to take several steps to make these things go live, and apparently there's a breakdown in communication somewhere. I shouldn't have been able to grab an embed code if their ducks hadn't been lined up yet. Sorry folks.

Coming next????

Duke/Lifepoint just closed on the purchase of the Medwest Health System - formerly the Haywood Regional Medical Center in Haywood County, and Harris Regional Hospital in Jackson County.

What are the odds that one of these hospitals will close in the next couple of years?


The measure of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little. - FDR

I'd say the odds are pretty good

They'll probably rip out any decent equipment and machinery that isn't still under lease and leave an empty hulk in its place. Hopefully it will be only one that's closed, instead of both.

Those voters who rail against the "takers"

and Obamacare have not thought through the consequences of no Medicaid dollars for their own rural hospitals. An hour drive for urgent care is what they will get for their votes. Their own lives are at risk.

Never ceases to amaze

how the clueless talking-point-repeating tea party loons continue to vote against their own self-interest, then blame Obama for the problems in their lives cause by (drum roll please) the tea party loons they put in office.

"I will have a priority on building relationships with the minority caucus. I want to put substance behind those campaign speeches." -- Thom Tillis, Nov. 5, 2014