CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WOWK) — Williamson Memorial Hospital in Mingo County is in danger of closing. It was placed in bankruptcy on October 21st, and the hospital sent out a state-mandated WARN notice that the 157-employees might soon be out of work. But a new management team is now in place, and there will be an effort to clear up the financial problems or find a new owner to keep the doors open.
“There is a possibility of closure because of the bankruptcy. However, the hospital is making its best effort to be a going-concern hospital for this community. We are actively pursuing buyers,” said Loretta Simon, Williamson Hospital Chief Nursing Officer.
“While Hospital officials are trying to keep the facility open, tradition may be involved. This year Williamson Hospital is celebrating its 100th anniversary of being in business,” said Mark Curtis, 13 News Chief Political Reporter.
Administrators are holding meetings with employees every week. But people in the community are worried. Mingo County has already been hit hard by the downturn in the coal industry, and the opioid epidemic. Residents say a hospital closure would be another blow.
“Oh to me it would be heartbreaking because it’s a big part of the community. A lot of jobs would be lost. Hundreds of people that work there. And I just think it would be a very sad thing. We’re just praying that things will turn around,” said Kathryn Baisden, a Mingo County resident.
“Well, I hope it doesn’t. I like going up there. I’ve been a patient there and I had excellent care” said Mildred Parsons, a Mingo County resident.
If Williamson closes, it would be the third hospital serving West Virginia to shutter this year. The Ohio Valley Medical Center and East Ohio Regional Hospital closed in September. Experts say West Virginia is among the unhealthiest states in the nation, and losing more medical care is troubling.