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Williamson Memorial Hospital announced the layoff of 35 employees and the closure of Williamson Family Care and Williamson Medical Specialties Clinics via their Facebook page on Oct. 31.

WILLIAMSON, W.Va. — Williamson Memorial Hospital announced Thursday afternoon the layoff of 35 employees and the closure of Williamson Family Care and Williamson Medical Specialties clinics.

“It is with a heavy heart that we will have to have a reduction in workforce, but it is necessary to maintain access to our essential services,” interim CEO Gene Preston said in a news release announcing the changes.

The announcement came 10 days after the 100-year-old hospital facility filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and issued WARN notices to all 157 of its employees. Chapter 11 bankruptcy permits reorganization under the bankruptcy laws of the United States.

Amid the reductions, the hospital aims to focus on core services and concentrate its resources on critical services for the greater Williamson community during the restructuring process.

According to the release, “the hospital’s financial troubles appear to arise from extreme delays in collections from governmental and third-party payers.”

The board of trustees at Williamson Memorial Hospital brought in Preston, a health care administrator from Huntington, as the interim CEO to assist in the reorganization. Preston is also the president of Vertical Healthcare in Huntington.

“It is time for the hospital to be sized appropriately considering the demand for services and the services offered by other providers in this community. The hospital and all community health care stakeholders must work together to establish and maintain a network of quality care,” Preston said in the release. “The absence of cash flow appears to be due to an information system (electronic medical record and billing system) conversion. This has caused us to look at all services and identify those that are not essential for the hospital versus those which are available to the Williamson community within a short driving distance.”

Preston went on to say that “after a careful analysis of business operations, it is obvious that demand for certain services is not enough to be accretive to the organization. These adjustments to the hospital’s service offerings are part of our best efforts to maintain access to critical services and for the hospital to continue as a going concern.”

The release announced the following adjustments to WMH operations:

  • Closure of Williamson Family Care.
  • Closure of Williamson Specialty Clinics.
  • The Intensive Care Unit being permanently placed in diversion.

The release stated that arrangements are made for patients to be seen by Dr. C. Donovan “Dino” Beckett, Dr. Muneel Abbas and other providers at Williamson Health and Wellness Center.

Specialty services that lack the physician coverage will now be referred to specialists within the region, in accordance with patient preference and applicable guidelines and payer mandates.

When reached for comment, Beckett stated, “We are actively working with WMH to accommodate patients’ needs. The public can follow our Facebook page for important announcements and information to work through this difficult transition. WHWC is committed and proud to play a role in sustaining health care services and be a partner in moving our community forward.”

Patients can also call 304-236-5902 or stop by clinic offices at 184 E. 2nd Ave. in Williamson for appointments.

Williamson-based Mingo Health Partners LLC bought the 76-bed hospital from Franklin, Tennessee-based Community Healthcare Systems in 2018.

The group is comprised of Williamson Mayor Charlie Hatfield, former Mayor Sam Kapourales and Huntington attorney and former delegate Doug Reynolds, who is also managing partner of HD Media, which owns The Herald-Dispatch and the Williamson Daily News among other southern West Virginia newspapers.

Jarrid McCormick is a reporter for the Williamson Daily News. He can be reached by email at jmccormick@hdmediallc.com.

Jarrid McCormick is a reporter for the Williamson Daily News. He can be reached by email at jmccormick@hdmediallc.com