COVID-19 financial damage forces West Virginia hospital to close

Williamson (W.Va.) Hospital has been in a fragile financial position for months, and a drop in patient volume due to the COVID-19 pandemic has forced the hospital to close, according to a statement from the hospital's CEO. 

The 76-bed hospital filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in October, about 17 months after Franklin, Tenn.-based Community Health Systems sold the facility to Williamson-based Mingo Health Partners. Though the hospital has taken steps to improve its financial position, it's unable to overcome the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

"Over the past 7 months … we were able to right size the organization, streamline operations and fix a large portion of the revenue cycle issues," Williamson Hospital CEO Gene Preston said in an April 20 message to employees and the local community. "Unfortunately, the decline in volumes experienced from the current pandemic were too sudden and severe for us to sustain operations." 

Mingo Health Partners first announced plans in late March to close the hospital. About a week later, the bankruptcy court approved a $3.7 million bid for the hospital from Williamson Health & Wellness.

Mr. Preston said the new owner may reopen certain services at the hospital, including emergency care, labs and X-rays, after the COVID-19 pandemic ends. 

"We're all deeply saddened by the closing," Keith Blankenship, administrator for the Mingo County, W.Va., health department told West Virginia Public Broadcasting. "Hopefully something better will come along through the Health and Wellness Center." 

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Tennessee hospital closes as several others struggle to stay afloat

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