Measure addressing Belhaven hospital closing clears Senate

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCT) – On Thursday, the North Carolina Senate approved a measure that could help Belhaven re-open Pungo Hospital. This comes one day after Belhaven Mayor Adam O’Neal arrived in Raleigh after walking from Belhaven.

Yesterday, Senator Bill Cook introduced a bill provision in the Senate Rules Committee that would help clear up some confusion in the Certificate of Need (CON) law.

In the law, those with existing facilities are exempt. Since the building Pungo Hospital was in is still intact, O’Neal believes they meet the stipulation for an existing facility. However, he said DHHS officials said an existing facility would be defined as one currently treating patients.

The bill passed by the Senate defines what an existing facility is. It said any hospital that held a hospital license, served patients, was staffed, and held appropriate equipment within the past 24 months could classify as an existing facility.

O’Neal said the CON law is the only thing standing in their way of securing the $6 million USDA loan needed to re-open the hospital.

The bill now moves to the House for a vote.


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