Community leaders outline plans to save Vidant Pungo Hospital - Greenville, NC | News | Weather | Sports - WNCT.com

Community leaders outline plans to save Vidant Pungo Hospital

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BELHAVEN, N.C. - Members of the NAACP, Beaufort County officials and Belhaven mayor Adam O'Neal met to lay out a plan to save the Vidant Pungo Hospital.

There were very strong remarks made against Vidant and against the Pantego Creek LLC. With just days left before the hospital is scheduled to close, officials are trying everything they can to save it.

Mayor Adam O'Neal says this is a matter of life or death.

"This is a community effort," Mayor O'Neal said. "We have a situation in Belhaven where 95% of the people want this hospital."

The NAACP announced they were filing a title 6 complaint, which was part of the Civil Rights Act prohibiting discrimination in programs receiving federal financial assistance.

There has also been an injunction requested with the Department of Justice, but lawyers trying to save the hospital haven't heard back anything yet.

"I find it hard to believe that the Department of Justice and the Department of Health and Human Services will allow Vidant to close this hospital on July 1st," said Alan McSurely, a civil rights lawyer.

Vidant Health has pledged to continue providing medial attention to people in the area by staffing a clinic in Belhaven. But Mayor O'Neal says that isn't enough.

"A 24/7 doctors office is what it is," O'Neal said. "If you have an emergency situation they can't do anything for you."

In response to the meeting, Vidant Health said they were surprised by the inaccurate comments and allegations made, but chose not to respond at the time.

Beaufort County Commissioner Hood Richardson is optimistic about the government stepping in.

"With the federal government hopefully getting into this thing at this point and time, we won't have any more problems with Vidant," Richardson said.

If the injunction is granted, Vidant will continue to operate the hospital until an agreement is made.

Related Story: Update: Vidant officials say Vidant Pungo will close Tuesday

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