CORRECTION — Due to a reporting error, an earlier version of this story mischaracterized Beth Atkins by writing that she said Belhaven residents will not have easy access to a trauma center until a new hospital is built. She had said residents can go to Vidant Health hospitals in Nags Head and Washington. The Daily Tar Heel apologizes for the error.
The closing of a small hospital in eastern North Carolina has some hospital officials concerned about budget cuts and health care access.
Executives from the Greenville-based Vidant Health voted unanimously last week to close the system’s Belhaven Hospital branch, effective in March. The closure was made in light of Gov. Pat McCrory’s decision earlier this year to reject Medicaid expansion under the federal Affordable Care Act.
Beth Atkins, a Vidant Health spokeswoman, said in an email that McCrory’s rejection of Medicaid was not the only reason the 60-year-old hospital will close. She said out of the 25,000 residents the hospital serves, only six patients currently use the hospital’s inpatient services.
But she said if Medicaid expansion had passed, the hospital would have had the funding to remain open.