BELHAVEN, BEAUFORT COUNTY -

Vidant announced Monday it has already opened a 24/7 clinic ahead of the impending closing of Vidant Pungo Hospital.

The hospital in Belhaven is scheduled to close after midnight on July 1 because Pantego Creek, LLC, the company that oversaw Vidant's takeover of Pungo Hospital in 2011, did not agree to a transfer of ownership to the town.

But in a statement Monday, Roger Roberston, president of Vidant Community Hospitals, said Vidant has already opened a 24/7 clinic at the Vidant Family Medicine practice at 216 Haslin Street. The clinic became operational at 8 a.m. Monday.

In addition, Roberston said Vidant will continue to offer ambulatory care at its other two physician practices on Allen Street (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday: 8 a.m.- 5 p.m.) and Water Street (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday: 8 a.m.- 5 p.m.; Thursday: 8 a.m.- noon).

Last week, Town of Belhaven and the NAACP filing a complaint with the  Department of Justice on the impending closing of Vidant Pungo Hospital.

In response, Roberston issued the following statement.

"Since April 1, Vidant Health has worked extensively to assist the town with its request to transfer ownership of Vidant Pungo Hospital in Belhaven. Vidant Health has continued to operate the hospital for the agreed upon 90 days and has fulfilled all of its obligations outlined in the mediation agreement.

"The town's recent accusations only serve to disguise the fact that it has failed to fulfill its obligations as outlined by the mediation agreement.

"After multiple attempts throughout the 90-day extension to contact the Town of Belhaven to help coordinate plans for assuming hospital operations, the lack of response made it apparent that the Town knew that it did not have a plan to take over hospital operations. In fact, on June 4, Vidant Health notified the Town it needed to know by June 11 of the Town's intent to provide ongoing operation on July 1. Vidant received no response. According to the mediation agreement signed on April 3, 2014, the Town agreed to the closure of the hospital if it was unprepared to take over hospital operations on July 1, 2014.

"Vidant Health recently learned Pantego Creek, LLC was unwilling to agree to a transfer of ownership to the Town of Belhaven. The mediation agreement clearly stated that the Town of Belhaven was required to work with Pantego Creek, LLC, for use of the hospital property.  To our knowledge, the Town never contacted Pantego Creek prior to June 11.

"As a result of the announcement made by Pantego Creek, Vidant Health began making provisions to extend its provider practice operations to a 24-hour-a-day, seven day-a-week service at the Vidant Family Medicine practice at 216 Haslin Street beginning today at 8 a.m., June 30.  Vidant will also continue to offer ambulatory care at its other two physician practices on Allen Street (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday: 8 a.m.- 5 p.m.) and Water Street (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday: 8 a.m.- 5 p.m.; Thursday: 8 a.m.- noon).

"Vidant Health will move forward with plans to fulfill its agreement with Pantego Creek to build a new 12,000-square-foot multi-specialty clinic in Belhaven to ensure continued access to quality health care in eastern Beaufort and Hyde counties."

(CLICK HERE to read more on the complaint to the Department of Justice that the Town of Belhaven and the NAACP have filed.)