County commissioners have unanimously agreed to provide $250,000 in emergency bridge assistance to keep Pioneer Community Hospital of Stokes County open until a bankruptcy court can consider a plan for an interim management agreement for the hospital on June 24.
The funding was authorized as part of an emergency memorandum of understanding (MOU) which was approved on Tuesday following an emergency, closed session meeting of the Board of Commissioners.
Under the MOU, the county will provide the funding prior to the bankruptcy court hearing under a strict set of conditions which includes retaining Pam Tillman as the hospital’s chief executive officer and giving her the authority to use the bridge assistance solely for ordinary expenses incurred during hospital operations.
Under the agreement Pioneer Health Services must provide the county documentation of the need for the funding and must use all revenue generated by the hospital to reduce the amount of bridge assistance it may need to keep the hospital open.
In order to receive the funding PHS must also guarantee that no services or operations of the hospital will be terminated prior to the bankruptcy court hearing unless directed to do so by the county, and must follow any reasonable recommendations made by the county on services being provided.
Board Chair Leon Inman said the move was necessary to keep the hospital open until a longer-term management agreement can be considered by the bankruptcy court.
“This funding was essential to keep the hospital open,” said Leon, noting . “Without this MOU and the funding the hospital would have closed on May 31. This was the only way we could do it.”
The funding will come from the county’s existing fund balance.
Nicholas Elmes may be reached at 336-591-8191 or on Twitter @NicholasElmes.