NC budget gives recently shuttered hospital chance to reopen

A North Carolina budget provision may give a shuttered hospital in Louisburg, N.C., the chance to open its doors again.

The 2017 budget permits a hospital to open an emergency room and then offer other types of services in an adjoining county if the only hospital in the destination county closed in the previous three years. Services would be offered using the originating hospital's license.

"What it does is allows the county to put out requests for proposals to accept bids from providers who are in counties adjoining them to set up services," Sen. Chad Barefoot (R-N.C.) told North Carolina Health News.

Franklin County, N.C., lost its only hospital last October when Winston-Salem, N.C.-based Novant Health closed Franklin Medical Center in Louisburg. Under the budget provision, services could be offered at the facility again.

Hospital chains including Raleigh, N.C.-based WakeMed Health & Hospitals are showing interest in the shuttered hospital. "We were eager to help when leaders from Franklin County reached out to us after Novant closed the hospital and emergency services," WakeMed President and CEO Donald Gintzig told North Carolina Health News. "We have been discussing with them opportunities to not only bring healthcare services back to the county, but also develop a true partnership that will meet the community's healthcare needs."

Under the budget provision, HHS would approve all new hospital services, according to the report.

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