Pioneer Community Hospital of Patrick closed the Emergency Department on Sept. 13 and announced plans to cease operations on Sept. 15.
“As most of you know, Pioneer Community Hospital of Patrick County filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection on March 30, 2016 due to financial hardships,” hospital administrator Jeanette Filpi said. “Since that time, we have worked diligently to structure a sale of the hospital to maintain viable operations. Unfortunately, our best efforts were unsuccessful and we have no choice but to close the hospital at this time.”
While exploring the sale of the hospital, the physician recruited in 2016 to lead the hospital’s clinic submitted his resignation on July 31 with his final day being September 30, Filpi said in the release.
The closing schedule also was outlined, with the Emergency Department the first to close at 5 p.m. on Sept. 13. EMS crews were diverted to other facilities.
Acute care patients were to be cared for until they were stable for discharge or transfer, according to the release.
Scheduled outpatient visits were set to continue at the hospital through Friday, Sept. 15, the release stated.
Steve Allen, coordinator of Patrick County Emergency Management, said the closing was unexpected. He learned about it at 12:57 p.m. on Wednesday.
The closing will have a “huge impact” on local volunteer rescue squads, Allen said, and explained without the local hospital and emergency operations, “you just took a 30 minute call and turned it into a two to four hour call.”
He and other local EMS personnel are working with the Western Virginia EMS Council to address issues related to the closing, including where and how to exchange drug boxes.
Initially, the council was told the boxes would continue to be kept in the emergency department and also could be exchanged there. That decision was reversed the next day, and EMS personnel were told the hospital would not participate in the exchange after all.
Additional questions/comments regarding the closure were referred to Justin H. Wilson, managing director of public relations for clients of Hall Strategies.
Wilson stated the initial release is the only information available.