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Bid for empty Brunswick hospital could lead to mental health facility

READ MORE: Bid for empty Brunswick hospital could lead to mental health facility
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BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) -- Thirty-two acres of real estate off US 17 is for sale if you can beat the current $1.5 million bid.

Brunswick County is selling the old Community Hospital. Last night, commissioners accepted one bid, but it's not a done deal yet.

Since a new hospital opened last summer up the road, there's not much going on at the old Brunswick Community Hospital. Still the county has to maintain the empty building at a price tag of $30-40,000 a month.

"Our goal has primarily been to keep the building operating and keep the grounds maintained in a presentable condition," County Manager Marty Lawing said. "We have to run the boiler and chiller to keep the air in the building conditioned so we don't grow mold or anything like that."

The county wanted to sell the hospital for $2.5 million, but Crown Management Group of Hope Mills was the only bidder at $1.5 million.

Lawing says commissioners looked at a number of things before accepting that offer, including the cost of operation and maintaining the facility.

"We understand we're in an interesting economy and real estate market, and that's probably not working in our favor," Lawing said.

Crown Management wants to turn the old hospital into some kind of mental health facility.

"We're looking at several things: outpatient mental health services; we are looking at some inpatient mental health type services as well," Crown Management CEO Fred Surgeon said. "We would have some administrative office functions, also looking at having a regional training center in Brunswick County."

While those in the mental health field say this could benefit the community, many questions still need to be answered.

"Depending upon what the admission criteria of this hospital will be, in other words, depends upon the population they're going to serve and to what level of difficulty of individuals they will serve," said Foster Norman, head of the Southeastern Center for Mental Health.

Those answers won't be known for a few months. A lot of it depends on what the state decides, as licensing for a facility like this has to come from Raleigh.

Crown Management says its facility would provide at least 80 jobs for the community, but someone could come along and upset the bid. Once the county receives a deposit from Crown Management, other bidders will have ten days to make a higher offer.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.

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Old Brunswick Hosp.

I am thrilled to hear that there is even a possibility that the County Hosp. facility has a chance to become a Mental Health facility. As a long time (now retired) both clinical and administrative mental health professional, I become more and more disenchanted with the way in which this population has been dismissed and undertreated. We saw a surge of the mentall ill into the community after the Kennedy deinstitutional efforts, but the community could not support the needs. In the 80s (that general era) I saw an active Department of Health and Human Services and the commmunity systems were serving the mentally ill, developmentally disabled, and substance abusers faily well and there was a push for community hospital beds. Then, alas, I saw the bottom fall out and unless insured, too many people are going untreated. Area Mental Health community programs merged, no longer offered therapy, and public/private partnerships and contracting became the norm. We just cannot continue to abandon this vulnerable population. Now that our troops are coming home, we will have an even larger responsibility. I will continue to hope for a facility in Brunswick County.

old Brunswick hospital

This building should be a Veterans hospital. Our Vets deserve to have a facility close.

Hi

I think you should put the old hospital in brunswick.county a s.ward, like Dorthy dix hospital in raleigh,NC.

Government should run Mental Health

Because patients at a mental health facility are at times held against their will, allowing a private company to exert such power over others is dangerous. The private company has an incentive to hold a person once they are within the facility, simply put, patients = tax dollars. More patients, more tax dollars. The government doesn't intrinsically have such a motivation. We, as tax payers, will pay either way, I'd prefer my money not be paid to a corporation to hold my fellow citizens, I respectfully request that such power be left to my government.

You have no idea how true that is

the problem is that Mental Health was primarily a government run issue until NC decided they wanted out of it and kept only 3 state mental facilities open Cherry Hospital in Goldsboro, Dorthea Dix in Raleigh and Braughton outside of Hickory, NC which isnt nearly enough beds to deal with the avg inpatient demand for patients needing services. Having seen the problem first hand (without giving too much info away as I prefer to remain anonymous as possible for fear of retribution by the Leland PD for exercising my 1st Amendment rights) something does need to be done. Im not sure if many are aware of the locked pysch facility that sits on Hwy 76 supposedly for troubled adolescents from what Ive been told by reliable sources there have been serious issues by this privately run facility some of which have been mentioned above and questionable actions even by the facility MD in the past including false documentation of seeing patients (which constituents medicaid fraud) when they had not. Staff failing to supervise patients properly and patients not receiving proper emergent medical care despite serious injuries or illness at times despite concerns of on-site medical staff due to management fearful of losing income (they dont get paid when the patient is in the regular hospital) as well as EMS being treated like they are going to a prison to pick up patients with strict rules about them not being allowed to enter the locked unit and patients having to be somehow brought to EMS even if they shouldnt be moved due to injury or illness. Without proper oversight I would fear a similar situation could very well develop with any such facility offering inpatient services at the old hospital.

I think we need one around

I think we need one around here you always got to go to New Hanover and we need one that will protect the patient and not let people out here to harm thereselve. This world is getting hard and I think most people are killing thereself over finances and I beleive this facility would be to the best interest for Brunswick County also facility including a drug rehab.....

Considering the goings on

Considering the goings on and state of mind of some of our elected officials lately, a mental health facility seems like a good choice. It should fill up quickly. Maybe some from Leland and New Hanover County will also find use for it.

old hospital

Hurry and change it to mental health. The DSS board has a couple of applicants, and New Hanover county could supply a few from their boards.