Vidant Health Systems and the NC NAACP have reached an agreement to keep Vidant Pungo Hospital open for three more months.

The Belhaven hospital was scheduled to close in just five days, leaving 25,000 people in Beaufort and Hyde counties without access to emergency medical services.

The NC NAACP filed a civil rights complaint in January alleging that the hospital closure would disproportionately impact and endanger African-American and low-income residents.

The settlement comes after several days of talks mediated by the U.S. Department of Justice.

“Over the next three months, Vidant Health will work with the community to help them establish a representative community-based board that will accept full operating control of the hospital in a transfer by July 1,2014,” the NC NAACP said in a press release.

“The employees of the hospital have been notified they will retain their positions through June 30, 2014, and we hope virtually all of them will retain their positions when the newly-formed Pungo District Hospital Board takes over the operation of the hospital by that date,” the NC NAACP said. “We understand that the uncertainty surrounding the future of the hospital in Belhaven, N.C. has been stressful for the employees of the hospital and the community at large. We want to assure the hospital’s employees and community that both parties are committed to the terms of this agreement.”

Vidant Health and the NC NAACP will hold a joint community meeting in Belhaven on April 3 at 6 p.m. to share more details about the settlement.

Video of the announcement, via Story of America:



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