Hospital is now open

Jul 09, 2014

MedWest Haywood got two pieces of welcome news Wednesday.

The needed repairs and inspections following a June 19 fire that destroyed the main hospital's electrical system were completed and the hospital was ready for reopening by Thursday, July 10.

Secondly, the long-awaited final hearing has been set that will clear the way for the hospital sale to Duke LifePoint. That hearing will be held at 5:30 p.m. July 21 as part of the upcoming Haywood County Board of Commissioners meeting.

MedWest Haywood President and CEO Janie Sinacore-Jaberg called the hospital reopening in less than three weeks after the fire "our labor of love."

“We are incredibly pleased with the pace of this process,” she said. “I said all along that we weren’t going to rush it, and we didn’t. We did everything correctly, methodically and in a very organized way. This rapid recovery process highlights the expertise and experience of the many crews who worked so hard to help us regain full operations."

The ER and outpatient departments in the hospital reopened for patient care on June 30, slightly ahead of a projected early July reopening. The Emergency Department began receiving all ambulance traffic at 7 a.m. Thursday, July 10.

The services that will be reopening include Intensive Care Unit, Progressive Care Unit, Women’s Services, which includes labor and delivery, Medical/ Surgical department, and Surgical Services, which includes all operating rooms.

This decision comes after successfully completing another review and approval by technical and governmental agencies, including the North Carolina Department of Health Service Regulation (DHSR).

Sale in sight

There will be two hearings where the public will have a chance to comment on the proposed sale of Haywood Regional Medical Center, a nonprofit hospital and associated medical facilities in the county to Duke LifePoint, a for-profit corporation that operates community hospitals across the nation.

The proposed sale agreement will be available for public inspection in the administrative offices of the county manager's office in the historic courthouse in Waynesville or at the MedWest-Haywood Health and Fitness Center.

The several-hundred page document will outline the terms and conditions of the sale, said hospital spokesperson Christina Diedesheimer. Copies will be available at 5 cents a page, or the interested individuals will be able to read the documents onsite.

The Haywood County Board of Commissioners public hearing on a resolution to sell and release its reversionary interest in the property making up Haywood Regional Medical Center will be followed by an action by the Haywood Regional Medical Center's board of commissioners at 6 p.m. July 24 in the auditorium of Haywood Community College.

Duke LifePoint is purchasing all the facilities that became part of the MedWest system in 2010 when HRMC joined with WestCare facilities in Jackson and Swain counties. Because the WestCare system was organized as a private nonprofit company, the N.C. Attorney General must review and approve the sale of those properties.

After considerable research and in conjunction with a recommendation by Stroudwater, a firm retained by MedWest to help chart its future, the MedWest governing board voted to enter negotiations with DukeLifePoint to sell all facilities.

Hospital leaders projected the sale could be wrapped up as early as March. The public hearings and completed agreement indicate the sale could take place as early as July 30.