Category Archives: HEALTH

Health Department on the ropes

New director issues first report card: ‘D minus’ at best, says Lenhart At left, Scott Lenhart, new director of the Pamlico County Health Department; and, Cliff Braly, chairman of the volunteer board that supervises the agency PAMLICO COUNTY – Feb. 20, at 6:30 p.m. three separate governmental boards will convene – at the same time in the same room – to consider the pros and cons of merging one county agency into another. The hot topic is the fate of the Pamlico County Health Department – an entity that has seen its share of woes over the past decade, including a revolving door of direct…

CarolinaEast earns five stars!

Upper echelon of nation’s hospitals NEW BERN — In the second round of ratings by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, CarolinaEast Medical Center is the only hospital in North Carolina to retain five stars. One of only four in the state following the initial ratings, CarolinaEast now emerges into an elite group – the 1.81 percent of the nation’s hospitals to receive a coveted five stars! According to the federal government website, Medicare.gov: “The overall rating summarizes up to 57 quality measures on Hospital Compare reflecting common conditions that hosp…

Credit Belhaven mayor, NAACP for ‘tenacity and perseverance’ in fight against Vidant

By Betty Murphy BELHAVEN – Saturday, April 30, may well have been a ‘Come to Jesus’ moment when Belhaven town officials and the NAACP hosted a press conference to announce jointly filed federal complaints — an integral part of the evolving Save Our Hospital movement! It has been two years since Greenville-based medical behemoth Vidant Health closed Belhaven’s beloved Pungo District Hospital. In most hearts and minds of this rural community (and to many knowledgeable outsiders), Vidant Health never intended to keep Pungo Hospital operating! It all came to a head on April 30…

Health Director resigns

Dennis Harrington, director of the Pamlico County Health Department, resigned last night during a meeting of the Board of Health. Clockwise around the table, beginning, far left: Harrington; board chairman Cliff Braley; and board members Richard Shaw, Steve Pertz, Teresa Scott, Angelo Midgette, Jason Rose, and Ken Heath. BAYBORO – Citing “medical conditions,” Dennis Harrington, director of the Pamlico County Health Department, submitted a letter of resignation Monday night to an appointed board of local citizens, who are charged with supervising the department. Harringto…

Heads almost roll in Health Department

Director’s hasty firing threats, later rescinded to ‘Administrative Leave’ BAYBORO – A routine ‘webinar’ (cyberspeak for video instruction that arrives over an Internet connection) turned testy last Thursday, April 14, when Dennis Harrington, director of the Pamlico County Health Department, threatened to fire two veteran employees, Tammy Rodriguez and Vanessa Jackson. Rodriguez, who has both a Masters degree in Public Health and an MBA, is responsible for inspecting all food service operations. She signs the “Sanitation Grade” certificate, which must be prom…

Precautionary water quality swimming advisory issued for sound-side site in Pamlico County

Precautionary water quality swimming advisory issued for sound-side site in Pamlico County MOREHEAD CITY – State recreational water quality officials today issued a precautionary advisory warning the public against swimming or coming into contact with the sound-side beach at 1004 Neuse Drive on the Neuse River in Oriental. The advisory is due to possible public health risks resulting from a malfunctioning wastewater lift station. The N.C. Division of Water Resources is investigating the incident, which was caused by heavy rainfall and flooding. The spill has ceased, and it is esti…

Rural healthcare suffers from broken system, says Belhaven mayor

Adam O’Neal By Adam O’Neal, Mayor | Town of Belhaven BELHAVEN — The truth is the Certificate of Need process is broken. I know the big hospitals have said that rural areas need Certificate of Need to keep rural county hospitals open. You know the story of what happened in Belhaven. Our hospital was struggling. A community-organized board decided the best step was to hand it over to Vidant Healthcare — the big hospital system in Greenville. We thought they would put a handle on the facility appropriately and keep it open to serve patients in the Belhaven area. We were wrong! Vidant c…

‘Words no longer have meaning’

Editor’s note: U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia makes such a compelling case that this newspaper has opted to print his 7,000-word dissent in its entirety. We are doing so in two parts, with the second installment to appear in our July 9 issue. Phrases that appear in bold italics are the editor’s attempt to make the jurist’s dissent more easily understood by casual readers. Antonin Scalia WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Court holds that when the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act says “Exchange established by the State” it means “Exchange established by the Stat…

Kickbacks, misdeeds alleged at regional mental health agency

Click for full report BEULAVILLE – Rampant graft and corruption in a mental health agency serving a dozen eastern North Carolina counties has been alleged in a State Auditor’s report released last week. Eastpointe Human Services is a Managed Care Organization, one of nine in the state once known as Local Management Entities. These agencies are charged with the difficult – and costly tasks – of providing mental health care for low-income populations. In recent years, large staffs and huge budgets have become the stock in trade for these mental health agencies. In 2014, for example,…

Rating service says outlook ‘negative’ for Vidant

Moody’s Investor Service NEW YORK CITY — Moody’s Investors Service assigned an A1 rating to Vidant Health’s $278 million Health Care Facilities Revenue Series 2015 Bonds to be issued by the North Carolina Medical Care Commission. The final maturity of the bonds is 2045. The rating service also affirmed an A1 rating for Vidant’s outstanding, previously issued debt. The outlook for Vidant has been revised to negative from stable. SUMMARY RATING RATIONALE The A1 rating is attributable to Vidant’s strong market share across multiple counties in eastern Nort…
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