Three weeks after a fire in the power room knocked out electricity at Haywood Regional Medical Center, the hospital is fully open and accepting patients. The hospital had already opened its emergency department and business offices back up on June 30 after getting a double generator backup system in place but had to hold off accepting inpatients until getting back on Duke Energy power. 

“We are incredibly pleased with the pace of this process,” said Janie Sinacore-Jaberg, the hospital’s president and CEO. “I said all along that we weren’t going to rush it, and we didn’t. We did everything correctly, methodically and in a very organized way.”

The hospital accepted its first inpatients following the fire on July 10. Because the length of stay for most inpatients is on the short side, patients who were transferred to neighboring hospitals during the closure are not being transferred back, said Christina Deidesheimer, director of strategy and marketing. 

“I don’t believe that we transferred back any patients from other facilities,” she said. “The length of stay for most patients is pretty short, so most likely most of these patients that we have [moved] have been discharged.”

The hospital has not yet finished negotiations with the insurance company, so there’s no word yet on how much of the lost profit from the closure a claim might recoup. There’s also no verdict yet on what caused the fire in the first place. 

“That investigation’s still ongoing,” Deidesheimer said. “We wish these things would happen within a couple weeks, but unfortunately they take quite a long time.”

The sale of the MedWest hospital trio in Haywood, Jackson and Swain counties will be finalized by the end of July.

Duke LifePoint HealthCare, a national for-profit hospital network, will take over Aug. 1, ending a long legacy of local, independent ownership of the community hospitals.

fr wetlandsIn two separate incidents, graders in Haywood County bulldozed over wetlands, violating state and federal regulations that protect the environmentally-sensitive areas.

coverMarc Pruett has won a Grammy and played the Grand Ole Opry stage, but his biggest concern on this day is sinkholes.

“Where is it? Canton?,” he asked a coworker. 

Director of erosion control for Haywood County, Pruett sits at his desk, which is covered in paper, maps and books. After a heavy midday rain, two sinkholes have emerged in downtown Canton. Pruett puts a plan into motion, workers head for the door. 

fr pigeoncenterThe Pigeon Community Center in Waynesville has once again been rescued from the brink.

Haywood County has pledged $47,000 to fix a severely leaky roof and structural problems with the building, in effect saving a suite of programs offered through the community center for minorities and low-income populations.

fr hospitalThe campus of Haywood Regional Medical Center is full of cars coming and going, staff walking toward or returning from shifts and people in workout gear heading toward the Fitness Center. Staff members help an elderly woman in a wheelchair get in her vehicle after discharging her from care, and staff working with those still admitted move between stations. 

fr naacpHaywood County’s fledging chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is getting a little help this summer.

“I see myself as a booster pack,” said Sam Tyson. “A little summer energy.”

fr fieldtripSitting in the judge’s seat, Jackson County Commissioners Chairman Jack Debnam took a look around. He absorbed the courtroom, glanced down at Commissioner Doug Cody on the witness stand and County Manager Chuck Wooten in the jury box. 

fr EDCA cross-section of Haywood County business leaders took over the reins of economic development this month, with county government passing the torch to the Greater Haywood County Chamber of Commerce to blaze a new path of economic prosperity.

An ongoing tug-of-war for control of the Haywood County Republican Party reached a finale last week.

A faction of conservative activists failed in their bid to wrest the chairman’s seat away from Pat Carr, who represents the mainstream party establishment. Carr now hopes the party can overcome the internal division that has plagued it for more than a year.

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