KENANSVILLE - Vidant Duplin’s Inpatient Behavioral Health Unit will discontinue operation in August.
Debra Hernandez, president of Vidant Duplin, made the announcement in a written statement last week.
According to the statement, Vidant delivers care in one of the most difficult markets in the country with a high burden of disease, underserved population and a lack of focus in Raleigh and Washington (DC) on policies that support rural health care, including behavioral health.
Vidant serves 1.4 million in the region.
“The challenges of delivering rural health care, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, have taken a significant financial toll on Vidant,” said Hernandez. “[The virus] intensified the need to carefully and thoughtfully consider options and make decisions in order to ensure we can deliver upon our mission into the future,” Hernandez said in a written statement.
Patients will continue to have local access to behavioral health care through existing outpatient services and the available facilities in eastern North Carolina that offer inpatient behavioral health beds, including Vidant Medical Center and Vidant Roanoke Chowan Hospital.
After the transition, patients arriving to the Vidant Duplin Emergency Department in need of behavioral health services will be evaluated and then transferred to an appropriate facility, when deemed necessary. Vidant will work closely with patients and their families during this transition to ensure continuity of care.
The decision also affects employment.
Hernandez said in the statement that Vidant will provide support to the 60 team members affected by this transition through a dedicated talent acquisition team which will offer available positions within the Vidant system.
Eastpointe, the county’s Local Management Entity-Managed Care Organization (LME-MCO) remains dedicated to helping individuals who struggle with substance use disorder, mental illness and/or intellectual and developmental disabilities offers direct access to care 24 hours a day at 1-800-913-6109 or online at Eastpointe.net/contact.
“Vidant is carefully evaluating all services, programs and operations across the system,” Hernandez said. “[The closure] is one of several we must make in the coming months in order to be a viable, healthy organization for the communities we love and serve. These are necessary decisions to help ensure we can continue to provide the most critical services for eastern North Carolina.”