PLYMOUTH, Washington County — Washington County Hospital stopped accepting patients Thursday night, the facility announced on its Facebook page.
Melanie Perry, CEO of the hospital, made the post and said:
To the Community of Washington County: As of 10:00 pm on February 14, 2019, it is with great sadness that WCH has made the decision to temporarily suspend clinical services. At this time the ER is shut down and no clinical services of any kind are being rendered until further notice. The staff at WCH has been very diligent in their efforts to avoid this temporary shutdown; however, in order to provide safe care to our community, this decision had to be made. At WCH we have weathered many storms, but this is one that we were not able to overcome especially with so many variables working against us. We do not want to jeopardize the care or safety of our community, thus this decision is in the best interest of everyone although we expect this suspension to be temporary. Access to medical records will still be available and the FRONT doors will be open during regular business hours which are 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. The Rural Health Clinic will continue to function during regular business hours as well; however, no clinical services will be rendered at the hospital. Once most of the variables have been satisfied, the ER will reopen and services will be restored to the community. If you develop the need for medical attention, please continue to call 911. It has been an honor and privilege to service the Washington County community and its citizens.
The decision comes on the heels of stories NewsChannel 12 brought you exclusively concerning problems at the hospital. Employees had not been paid and essential medical supplies were unavailable.
On Monday, we reported on a number of problems appearing to date back months and even years. Employees said they've worked for two weeks but have not been paid. The hospital is the only one in the county but the halls usually bustling with activity are now empty.
Empower HMS, the company which owns the hospital, promised 50 employees that checks would be arriving Monday morning but that never happened, according to staff. As for the medical supplies, there's no word on if/when they will be restocked.
The hospital was owned by Washington County until 2007 then sold in the spring of that year to HMC/CAH Consolated Management, a subsidiary of Empower HMS. Problems at other hospitals owned by the company across the country have also popped up.
Perry said Tuesday it was very likely the hospital could shut down.
"This facility is an asset to this community and it is very much needed," Perry said.
"I do want the community to know that the people behind these doors care about them and care for them," Perry said. "I do feel like the trust is gone and that's hard to cope with and that's hard to regain."