County files complaint over hospital closure

Closed signs on the doors of the Yadkin Valley Community Hospital indicate a number for patients to call regarding their medical records.

On June 3, Yadkin County filed a complaint in federal court against HMC/CAH, the for-profit company that ran the Yadkin Valley Community Hospital up until its unexpected closure on May 22. The county had been pursuing other groups to take over management of the county-owned hospital facility.

The complaint states: “This action involves Defendants’ (HMC/CAH) unjustified closure of the Hospital in breach of its express obligations to the County, in violation of an Order from the Wake County Superior Court, and to the serious detriment of the local community. Such closure resulted in the loss of the only hospital in Yadkin County, which provides a vital safety net for Yadkin County residents, including but not limited to life-saving emergency medical and surgical treatment and the availability of an inpatient hospital for residents who need inpatient care.

“Following Defendants’ unilateral and wrongful closure, local residents are required to travel out of the county for any serious medical needs, which results in delayed medical evaluation and treatment. Many residents relied upon physicians employed by Defendants for their medical care, prescriptions, and referrals for specialty care.

“Despite their unilateral decision to close, Defendants have refused to make appropriate arrangements to ensure that these patients receive the care they need. Indeed, only days after locking the doors to the Hospital, patients arrived for their scheduled appointments because they had received absolutely no warning from Defendants that they would close the Hospital. Defendants provided no alternative care arrangements for these patients, many of whom had urgent medical needs and expiring prescription.”

The entire legal document is more than 20 pages long and lists step by step the complaints against HMC/CAH and how the unexpected closure has harmed county residents who seek medical care at the hospital. The county has been in negotiations with Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital in Elkin to potentially take over the facility, but HMC’s lease was not set to expire until July 31.

In a motion filed in federal court by HMC two weeks ago, they claimed that continuing to operate the hospital until the end of July would have resulted in a loss of approximately $300,000 for their company.

The county’s complaint against HMC lists three main claims, breach of contract, unfair trade practices and wrongful interference with contract. The county asks that the court have a jury trial to determine damages to be award to the county from HMC, at an amount to be determined by said jury, but in an amount to exceed $25,000.

All of the court documents filed on behalf of the county against HMC are public record and available to be viewed by the public on the county’s website

Kitsey E. Burns may be reached at 336-679-2341 or on Twitter @RippleReporterK.

comments powered by Disqus