Dare County Board of Commissioners at its meeting on Monday night voted
unanimously to give half of the $100,000 in support that it contributes
to Vidant Health, which operates Vidant Family Care in Avon, to the
newly reopened Hatteras Medical Center.
with the next fiscal year, which begins July 1, $50,000 in county funds
will go to Vidant and $50,000 will go to Hatteras Medical Center in
The motion to split the support between the two centers was made by Hatteras Island Commissioner Allen Burrus.
The discussion on the motion included some of the recent history of health clinics on the island.
At one point, there were two health centers, owned by the Greenville-based University Health Systems of Eastern Carolina.
In July of 2010, according to Warren Judge, University Health Systems "rode into town" and told county officials
that the centers were bleeding money, and Dare County had two weeks to
decide whether to pay lots more money to keep them open, look
elsewhere, or close one or both facilities.
County Manager Bobby Outten said at that time that UHS representatives
told the county at the meeting that July that it had to choose between
health system, which runs Pitt County Memorial Hospital in Greenville
and is a partner in The Outer Banks Hospital in Nags Head, would leave
Hatteras Island altogether.
county would continue to pay about $100,000 a year to provide for
reduced on-call services, and to keep one clinic open. After-hours
nursing care would also be discontinued.
county would pay $300,000 annually to keep both clinics operating,
on-call services would be reduced and after-hours nursing care would be
Eventually, the deadline was extended until Jan. 1, 2011.
county refused to pay the $300,000, and on Dec. 31, 2010, University
Health Systems closed the Hatteras village center and pulled back to
its newer center in Avon.
2012, University Health Systems re-branded its health systems and they
are now known as Vidant Health. Vidant is made up of nine hospitals,
physician practices, home health, hospice, wellness centers, and other
health care services.
Hatteras Medical Center building and the land upon which it was located
belongs to Dare County. After the center closed, Hatteras villagers,
backed by the county, vowed to reopen it with a new medical provider.
The county refurbished the building and a medical provider was finally located and the center was reopened late last year.
She was a physician's assistant, who was replaced in April by nurse
practitioner Gail Covington. The center is now open Monday
through Friday from 8 a.m. until noon and from 1 until 5 p.m.
Burrus said at the board meeting Monday night that he thought splitting the $100,000 in support was "the right thing to do."
"At one point maybe they needed it," he said. "But now it doesn't make a difference."
The $50,000, he said, is important to the Hatteras center, he said, to help it get more grants and move forward.
also noted that Vidant has a history of pulling its facilities out of
areas, noting that it recently closed a hospital in Belhaven.
not comfortable that Vidant will stay on Hatteras Island," Burrus said.
"We need to prepare for what might happen down the road."
the company does close the Avon center, he added, the Hatteras Medical
Center would become vital to health care on the island.
Judge asked if the county had a contract with Vidant.
noted that University Health Systems wouldn't agree to a contract to
keep Avon open for a certain number of years in exchange for the
continued $100,000 in county support.
"They wouldn't agree to a contract, so I don't feel we owe them anything," he said.
Furthermore, Burrus told the board, "If they leave over $50,000, they're leaving anyway."
His motion to split the $100,000 was seconded by Virginia Tillett and approved unanimously after discussion.