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Belhaven Mayor Is '100 Percent' That Local Hospital Will Reopen

A picture of Belhaven Mayor Adam O'Neal

Belhaven Mayor Adam O'Neill says he's optimistic that the hospital in his town will reopen soon.

The non-profit Vidant Health closed the Pungo hospital there this summer, which served low-income and minority populations. 

Mayor O'Neill walked nearly 300 miles to Washington, D.C. to ask regulators to look into the closure.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has agreed to investigate whether Vidant's closing of the hospital has displayed unlawful discrimination based on race and national origin.

O'Neill appeared on MSNBC's “The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell” last night.

“I'm 100 percent we're gonna get it reopened. It's just a matter of time," O'Neal said. "Everybody's working hard here. We have rich, poor, black, white, Latinos. Everyone's working together and we're gonna be successful. It's just a matter of time."

Vidant Health has said it planned to build a new facility in the area. Now, the organization has asked the hospital property owner to transfer the title to Belhaven, allowing the town to operate the hospital itself.

Rebecca Martinez produces podcasts at WUNC. She’s been at the station since 2013, when she produced Morning Edition and reported for newscasts and radio features. Rebecca also serves on WUNC’s Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accountability (IDEA) Committee.
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