WILLIAMSON, WV (WOWK) – Williamson Memorial Hospital announced today its plans to close.
While the exact date of the closing is unknown at this time, hospital officials say it should take place approximately April 21.
In a statement sent to Channel 13, hospital officials say the impending closure is the result of recent developments that make it impossible to continue operations.
“Williamson Memorial is currently operating as a debtor-in-possession in bankruptcy case number 2:19-bk-20469, United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of West Virginia,” hospital officials say. “In February, the hospital commenced in its pending bankruptcy case an effort to sell its business as a going concern. In order to fund the on-going operating losses at the hospital until the anticipated closing of the sale, the hospital obtained a loan which it believed would be sufficient to enable it to stay open until the sale closed in early April. This process was totally disrupted by the COVID-19 crisis currently facing our country.”
Officials say all seriously interested parties were themselves, healthcare providers, who are now spending their time and energy “preparing their current facilities to be in a position to deal with the crisis.”
Because of this, hospital officials say the previously interested parties have no interest in taking over operations of Williamson anytime in the near future and the funding obtained in February will be insufficient to keep the hospital open for an extended period.
“There is no option to obtain sufficient additional financing given its existing level of debt and the large losses currently being sustained by the hospital as a result of the continuing low census and the disruption caused by the COVID-19 crisis,” hospital officials say. “Thus, the only option available to the hospital is to shut down its operations.”
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia) issued a statement regarding the closing, which said he cannot overstate how essential rural hospitals are to the state.
“Williamson Memorial Hospital is the only hospital in Mingo County,” he says. “As the COVID-19 pandemic increases the need for medical facilities we must do everything possible to keep our rural hospitals running. It is unconscionable that during a pandemic we are closing any hospital or health center that can provide the care West Virginians need. I will continue to work with hospital leadership and state and local officials on next steps to ensure that Mingo County will not go without treatment during this terrible pandemic.”
Hospital officials say all current employment positions at Williamson Memorial, including permanent full time and PRN employees, will be permanently affected by this closure.