A West Virginia judge issued a preliminary injunction prohibiting HCA from closing its 68-bed Putnam General Hospital, Hurricane, W.Va. Earlier this month, Nashville-based HCA announced plans to close Putnam General, and this week, the company said it had reached an agreement to sell the hospital to 793-bed Charleston (W.Va.) Area Medical Center. The leader of a citizens' group fighting the closure said in an affidavit that HCA agreed to negotiate a management contract with the Charleston facility to keep Putnam General open while seeking regulatory approval for a sale. In return, the group, Save Our Hospital, would not file a lawsuit seeking to block the closure. When HCA informed Save Our Hospital that it was going ahead with the closure, the lawsuit was filed. In issuing a preliminary injunction, the Putnam County (W.Va.) Circuit Court judge ruled that there is sufficient evidence to believe the citizen's group could win the case and that irreparable harm would be done if HCA were allowed to proceed with the closure while the case is pending. The next hearing is scheduled for Aug. 23. HCA officials declined to comment. -- by Vince Galloro
Judge blocks HCA plan to close W.Va. hospital
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