Another Rural Hospital Closes in North Carolina
Novant Health's Franklin Medical Center will stop admitting patients today, Friday, October 16th. This is Franklin County's only hospital and will greatly affect the county's healthcare. While there are many challenges for rural hospitals, Governor McCrory and the legislature can help them out by expanding Medicaid, which would give health care access to 500,000 North Carolinians.
Experts say closing hospitals is something rural communities are going to see more frequently in the coming years.
UNC Professor Mark Holmes says several factors have come together to accelerate this trend, including the recession, shrinking populations, changing technology, and insurance reimbursement changes.
“We do see some circumstances where the hospital can turn it around. But, for the most part, it’s usually a long and slow steady change,” said Holmes.
Since 2010, 57 rural hospitals have closed nationwide, including three in North Carolina. Vidant’s Pungo Hospital in Belhaven is one that closed here in the East.