BLUEFIELD, WV (WVNS) — In October of 2019, Princeton Community Hospital purchased Bluefield Regional Medical Center. Since then, the hospital struggled to turn a profit. CEO of Princeton Community Hospital, Jeffery Lilley, said insurance is the crippling factor.
“Approximately eight to nine percent of the patients we serve have what we call commercial insurance. Most patients are covered by some level of governmental pay or governmental insurance,” Lilley said.
That insurance does not pay the bills. PCH made the decision to close the doors of Bluefield Regional Medical Center.
“That just does not allow for us to continue forward with a full service acute care hospital,” Lilley said.
This means 340 employees lost their jobs; however, a few doors will remain open. PCH will keep the emergency room open along with lab and radiology operations.
“A stand alone emergency department, full service ER. It’s got physicians and providers that will be there 24/7,” Lilley said.
Lilley said 100 people will get back their jobs because of this decision, and the people of Bluefield will still have emergency care.
“Being able to provide an emergency care service to the community really gives everyone some sense of security. That there is someone there to be able to reach out to in a fast way,” Lilley explained.
If patients of that emergency room need a higher level of care, they can be quickly transferred to PCH.
Lilley and Bluefield City Mayor Ron Martin do have a plan for the rest of the BRMC building. The lab services and some radiation services will still be operating in connection to the emergency room. There are discussions to work with a college or the VA center to utilize the rest of the building.
“It’s a large facility so there is some hope and some discussions with Bluefield State and their nursing program, and their ability to use some of that space and enhance some of the services they have,” Martin said.