Virginia hospital closes

Virginia lost its second rural hospital in the past five years when Pioneer Community Hospital of Patrick in Stuart closed last month.

Pioneer Community Hospital of Patrick shut down in phases. The facility closed its emergency department Sept. 13 and began diverting ambulances to other facilities. The hospital continued to provide care to acute care patients until they were stable for discharge or transfer. The hospital offered outpatient care until Sept. 15, when it ceased all services, according to The Enterprise.     

The hospital's owner, Magee, Miss.-based Pioneer Health Services, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2016. Delays in payment by insurance companies, increased use of high-deductible health plans and the need to invest in an EHR system were some factors that led to the bankruptcy filing. PHS hoped to divest Pioneer Community Hospital of Patrick and seamlessly transition service, but the company was unable to secure a buyer.

According to the North Carolina Rural Health Research Program, nearly 70 rural hospitals across the nation have closed in the last five years, including two in Virginia: Pioneer Community Hospital of Patrick and Lee Regional Medical Center in Pennington Gap.

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