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Vidant Health supports transferring former hospital to Belhaven

September 04, 2014 by Christine Mackey

GREENVILLE, NC – In a letter dated Aug. 27 from Dr. David Herman, CEO of Vidant Health, to Mr. C. Brantley Tillman, chair of Pantego Creek, LLC, Vidant Health again strongly encouraged Pantego Creek, LLC to give the title to the former Pungo Hospital to the Town of Belhaven. Pantego Creek, LLC owns the property, and the Town of Belhaven has expressed its desire to take possession of the property and operate its own hospital. 

“Pantego Creek, LLC has the opportunity to assist the Town’s efforts to operate a hospital,” said Roger Robertson, President of Vidant Community Hospitals. 

In his letter, Dr. Herman said, “I understand that you recently extended an offer to lease the property at nominal rent to Town representatives who have since responded that they expect the LLC to convey title to the hospital property to them. As we discussed last week, I strongly encourage you to consider such a request.” 

Since April 1, Vidant Health has worked extensively to assist the Town of Belhaven with its request to transfer ownership of Vidant Pungo Hospital. Vidant Health operated the hospital for the agreed upon 90 days and has fulfilled all of its obligations outlined in the mediation agreement. According to the mediation agreement signed on April 3, 2014, the Town agreed to the closure of the hospital if it was unprepared to take over hospital operations on July 1, 2014. 

Vidant Health met every point outlined in the mediation agreement between the N.C. NAACP and the Town of Belhaven. Vidant entered into the agreement in good faith and in a spirit of mutual cooperation to address the health care concerns of the citizens of Beaufort and Hyde counties. 

In May and June, 2014, Vidant Health sent a series of letters to the Mayor of Belhaven offering assistance to facilitate the transfer of hospital operations to the Town, as well as expressing concern that the Town was not taking clear action toward assuming those operations. Vidant Health received no response from the Mayor to any of these letters. 

Town denies building permit
Vidant Health was recently informed that the town of Belhaven denied Vidant's building plans and revoked a previously-issued building permit for a new 24-hour modern health care facility and helipad for integrated multi-specialty medical care and emergency medical transport in the Belhaven area. The town had previously granted the building permit on Aug. 1, 2014. 

“It’s the community of Belhaven that is suffering the most,” said Roger Robertson, president of Vidant Community Hospitals. “Throughout this process we have worked to provide sustained health care for the future. Our focus has not changed, and our intent all along has been to work with the Mayor and the Town in a collaborative manner. Vidant remains committed to providing health care to the Belhaven community." 

Vidant Health is still seeking to build a new, 24/7 multi-specialty clinic to serve Belhaven and the surrounding communities, and continues to provide care at the 24/7 care clinic and at the three physician practices. 
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