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.