Though the fire was a small one, it knocked out the hospitalâ€™s electrical system. The emergency generators kicked in, but the hospital was still having problems with keeping the building cool. CEO and president Janie Sinacore-Jaberg decided that it would be in the patientsâ€™ best interest to close and evacuate.
To get the OK from the N.C. Division of Health Service Regulation for a partial re-opening, the hospital had to have redundant power sources and undergo extensive testing to prove that theyâ€™re working as they should. They got that done by June 30, slightly ahead of the original early July goal.
â€śWe are moving along at a rapid but methodical pace,â€ť Sinacore-Jaberg said. â€śAs I have said, we arenâ€™t going to rush this.â€ť
But the hospital still doesnâ€™t have its inpatient wing open and likely wonâ€™t until mid-to-late July. Thatâ€™s because both the primary and backup power sources are generator-based right now, and to accept inpatients the hospital has to get back on Duke Energy power. A new transfer switch must be installed, and the N.C. DHSR has to go through its battery of tests.
â€śSafe patient care is always our highest priority, so we are doing everything correctly, in a very organized manner,â€ť Sinacore-Jaberg said, â€śand in concert with our internal teams as well as external agencies.â€ť
As it works toward a full re-open, the hospital is also in the midst of an ownership transfer. Duke LifePoint has offered to buy the public hospital for $26 million, but the sale isnâ€™t final. The original schedule had called for it to close in late March, but that timeline got moved back to late July or early August. Itâ€™s now expected to come a bit later, though reasons for the delay are unrelated to the fire, Sinacore-Jaberg said.