HAMLET — Accepting a recommendation from the local hospital advisory board, FirstHealth will no longer provide clinical services after Nov. 3 at Moore Regional Hospital-Hamlet (formerly Sandhills Regional Medical Center), according to a press release issued Wednesday.
FirstHealth officials say the company is evaluating future uses for the facility with initial plans that include repurposing the space for non-clinical services. FirstHealth is in discussions with Richmond Community College to create a simulation lab that will support education and training efforts for health sciences students. Officials are also investigating options to partner with outside sources to expand behavioral health services in the community.
When Sandhills was acquired by FirstHealth of the Carolinas last year, officials say a shift in patient visits to campuses in Rockingham and Pinehurst resulted in a drop in inpatient admissions and surgeries at the Hamlet facility.
In light of that shift, FirstHealth’s administration has decided to consolidate all hospital-based clinical services on the Richmond campus.
“The decision to cease clinical services at our Hamlet facility is difficult, but necessary,” CEO David J. Kilarski said in a statement. “Currently, the Hamlet facility averages two to three patients per day, two surgeries per week and fewer than seven imaging studies per weekday. Maintaining a highly trained staff with such low volumes is not a sustainable situation, especially when the same services are offered a few miles away.”
According to Kilarski, FirstHealth will “continue to provide quality, accessible health care” to Richmond County by and through its Rockingham location. All of the clinical services, including surgical cases, and the Behavioral Service Intensive Outpatient Services proram currently offered at the Hamlet facility will be provided on the Richmond campus. FirstHealth Convenient Care and specialty clinics will remain in their current Hamlet locations.
Sixty full-time employees and 22 part-time employees will be impacted with the discontinuation, according to the release. FirstHealth’s administration began the process of notifying those employees Wednesday and will offer placement services for positions available within the health system.
FirstHealth officials say there are job openings and they will work with affected employees over the coming weeks to identify opportunities for their continued employment with the company.
“We value the contributions these employees have made to our health system,” said John Jackson, regional president of FirstHealth’s Southern Region, which includes Rockingham and Hamlet. “We will work with each and every person to find them like or comparable employment within FirstHealth of the Carolinas.”
Medical records of patients of FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital-Hamlet will be transferred to and maintained by FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital-Richmond, located at 925 Long Drive, Rockingham, NC. Patients desiring to obtain copies of their medical records or to have them transferred to another medical provider should call 910-417-3688.