Though the fire was a small one, it knocked out the hospitalâs 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 theyâre working as they should. They got that done by June 30, slightly ahead of the original early July goal.
âWe are moving along at a rapid but methodical pace,â Sinacore-Jaberg said. âAs I have said, we arenât going to rush this.â
But the hospital still doesnât have its inpatient wing open and likely wonât until mid-to-late July. Thatâs 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.
âSafe patient care is always our highest priority, so we are doing everything correctly, in a very organized manner,â Sinacore-Jaberg said, âand in concert with our internal teams as well as external agencies.â
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 isnât 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. Itâs now expected to come a bit later, though reasons for the delay are unrelated to the fire, Sinacore-Jaberg said.