The Town of Belhaven has been fighting a tremendous battle to reopen their hospital that was closed through adverse conditions on July 1st, 2014. The fight has been led by Belhaven Mayor Adam W. O’Neal who has walked to Washington, D.C. twice to secure funding to reopen the hospital and changes to federal legislation concerning Rural Hospitals.
Mayor O’Neal, Beaufort County Commissioner Hood Richardson and Civil Rights Legend Bob Zellner will be walking to Raleigh to demand support from House Republicans and the Governor to reopening their hospital. Senate Republicans have pledged support for Belhaven. Belhaven has secured a conditional loan approval from U.S.D.A. for 6 million dollars and has secured means to meet all requirements except the Certificate of Need.
The abolishment or modification of the Certificate of Need Laws is being debated in the budget negotiations going on in the legislature presently. An abolishment of the law would mean an end to the law being used to stifle competition in healthcare across North Carolina. Vidant Health closed the Belhaven Hospital to boost another hospital they own 30 miles from Belhaven. Now Vidant Health, with help from the North Carolina Hospital Association, is now using the Certificate of Need law to prevent the reopening of the Belhaven Hospital. So even though Belhaven has secured money to reopen their hospital that was closed through fraud, hired a management company, and developed a detailed business plan for new operations, the Certificate of Need Law can be used politically, by nonprofit Vidant Health, to keep Belhaven from reopening their hospital. The closing of Belhaven’s hospital has left a 130 mile gap between hospitals in Northeastern Beaufort and Hyde Counties, the same distance of the walk from Belhaven to Raleigh. There are now over 15,000 people with no emergency room or hospital services. People are needlessly dying from no emergency room services!!!!! Vidant is building a primary care clinic in Belhaven currently that is nothing more than a doctor’s office and can’t receive emergency vehicles.
The Mayor, Commissioner Richardson, and Mr. Zellner will be walking to the Governor’s Mansion starting Tuesday, September 8, at 1pm. The walk will take 9 days. The Mayor’s group will be available for interviews anywhere along the walking route along Hwy 264 West to Zebulon then Hwy 64 West to Raleigh. The Mayor will also be available for phone interviews. Please contact the Mayor directly at 252-943-5939. The motto for the Save the Hospital effort is “Whatever It Takes”
Lily Hurst 💝