BLADEN COUNTY -- Just a year ago it was in danger of closing its doors for good. But now the Bladen County Hospital is getting ready to expand its services. A new agreement between Bladen County Hospital and Cape Fear Valley Hospital will bring much-needed funds to the small, rural healthcare center. Because insurance companies are paying less and forcing patients to pay more out-of-pocket it made it difficult for many Bladen County Hospital patients, many of whom are on Medicaid to pay their bills. That's created $1 million worth of bad debt. Last year Bladen County began looking for a partner healthcare organization to team up with. The winning bid went to Cape Fear valley, which will lease Bladen County Hospital for $1 million a year for five years. Bladen will also get an additional $500,000 for new equipment and repairs. The new partnership will allow Bladen County to bring more doctors to the area. Bladen County Hospital CEO David Masterson said, "There is a need for more cardiology presence, increased urology, neurology, the specialty service that the people of Bladen County have to go out of town to obtain." Cape Fear will also have an option to buy Bladen County hospital after three years if county commissioners approve. Bladen County hospital employs about three hundred people. It's also the only hospital in the county. The closest is 25 miles away.
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