Employees search for new work after hospital closes

Employees search for new work after hospital closes
KINGSTREE, SC (WMBF) - A local hospital has closed its doors, putting people out of work.
WMBF News looked into those Williamsburg County Hospital employees’ claims they were let go without notice and what the people who live in the area are supposed to do when they need critical care.
Lorraine Wadford, a retired nurse who once worked at Williamsburg County Hospital's emergency room, said her son had to be rushed to there for a broken leg.
“But if we hadn’t had that hospital, he would have been in excruciating pain,” said Wadford, who is a retired nurse said.
Wafford said she was devastated to hear the hospital is now closed and some employees have been turned away.
“We need somewhere to go that is near. We have a lot of high blood pressure. We have a lot of diabetes. We have a lot of strokes and car accidents,” Wafford said.
The hospital is closed at this point because of mold issues administrators said started in October following record rain and flooding. The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control issued the following statement to WMBF News:

DHEC has been working with administrators of Williamsburg Regional Hospital since the October 2015 floods to address issues associated with mold and water infiltration. On February 1, 2016, the hospital notified DHEC of their intent to close their building. After further discussions with hospital administrators, it was determined that the building should be vacated and the hospital should go to “zero census,” meaning they would have no patients. Please see the attached letter, dated Feb. 4, 2016, for more details.

Since that time, DHEC has been working with Williamsburg Regional on both their short-term and long-term goals of re-establishing health care services within their community. DHEC and the hospital have been participating in weekly conference calls and DHEC recently gave conditional approval for Williamsburg Regional to bring in a temporary/mobile emergency department.

A handful of employees WMBF News spoke to off camera said that they were dismissed without notice less than two weeks ago.
“We couldn’t pay everybody so we decided that we would move these folks to PRN, as needed,” said Sharon Poston, CEO of Williamsburg Regional Hospital.
Poston said employees that had paid time off are currently receiving a check for the time that was accrued.
“The whole idea was to keep them close so that we can bring them on as soon as possible. We are working on getting our emergency room. It’s been at least two or three weeks from when we were supposed to have it and we don’t have it yet,” Poston said.
Related Document:

Report from DHEC's census of the hospital:

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