Following months of legal drama between Yadkin County and the former hospital operating company, a judge has designated the specific amount the group will have to pay the county. The company closed down the hospital in May, defying a temporary restraining order applied for by the county in an attempt to keep the hospital open through the end of July, 2015.
U. S. District Court Judge Terrence Boyle in the Eastern District of North Carolina found the former Yadkin Valley Community Hospital operator to be in contempt of court in a June 16, 2015, hearing.
On Jan. 19, Boyle entered an order against CAH Acquisition Company 10, LLC; HMC/CAH Consolidated, Inc.; and Rural Community Hospitals of America, LLC for them to pay jointly and/or severally the sum of $36,079.96 in costs and $112,011.70 in attorneys fees to Yadkin County as a compensatory penalty for the civil contempt of these companies relating to their knowing violation of a Temporary Restraining Order entered by the Wake County Superior Court on May 22, 2015.
“We are very pleased with the court’s decision awarding these damages to the county,” Yadkin County Board of Commissioners Chairman Kevin Austin said. “This means that the citizens of the county will not have to bear the costs of a significant portion of this litigation against the illegal actions of the former hospital operator. We look forward to seeing all of these problems far behind us in the rear view mirror as the county moves toward a much improved healthcare system for our people.”
County officials are continuing to work towards getting the hospital reopen.
At the Jan. 19 meeting of the Yadkin County Board of Commissioners, it approved sending a letter to the NC Department of Health and Human Services requesting the Yadkin County Hospital be deemed a Legacy Medical Care Facility in accordance with North Carolina General Statute 131E-176 (14f).
“This is another in a series of positive steps the county has taken to re-open the hospital,” Austin said. “The state has been gracious to work with us and hold the license until we can find another operator for the hospital, and this new legislation gives the county additional assistance in finding a new medical provider for our county. Our staff has been very diligent in the past few months in working with the medical community throughout North Carolina on the best and most efficient ways to restore medical care for our citizens, and we are very hopeful that we may be able to make some decisions in the not too distant future on the best solutions that are available. While the statute and designation of a Legacy Medical Care Facility allows 36 months to re-open the hospital, we expect to have an excellent medical service provider in the facility in far less time than that.”
The legislation Austin referenced is a change that came out of the North Carolina General Assembly late in the session last year that created a designation of Legacy Medical Care Facility for hospitals that operated within the last 24 months, but had not been operational within the last six months. The revised statute exempts Legacy Medical Care Facilities from certificate of need review and provides them 36 months to re-open the facility.
Furthermore, the statute requires a letter be submitted to the State requesting the designation, which is what Yadkin County is doing now. Yadkin County received possession of the hospital facility in mid-July, 2015 as a result of a Court Order issued by Judge Terrence Boyle of the United States District Court in the Eastern District of North Carolina.