Novant Health announced Wednesday that Franklin Medical Center in Louisburg, N.C., will close Oct. 16 due to a decline in utilization.
The hospital, licensed for 83 beds, saw an average of eight patients a day, according to Caryn Klebba, a Novant spokeswoman.
The hospital stopped accepting new inpatient admissions on Wednesday and will assist current patients with discharge and transfers to other hospitals.
The closure comes after more than a year of efforts by Novant Health to keep Franklin County's only hospital open. Last fall, Novant Health began staffing the hospital to use only 15 beds in an effort to align with community demands, Klebba said.
Klebba said that despite changes the hospital continues to be underutilized. There are six hospitals within a 35-mile radius of Franklin Medical Center and 90% of Franklin County residents receive their inpatient care elsewhere, according to Klebba.
Franklin Medical Center employed 113 full-time and 16 part-time employees. The North Carolina Commerce Department will provide employees with outplacement assistance, including job fairs, according to a Novant Health news release.
Mark Holmes, director of the North Carolina Rural Health Research and Policy Analysis Center at the University of North Carolina, said neighboring Wake County could be a source of employment for the more than 100 people at Franklin Medical Center now out of a job. Franklin County is within commuting distance of Wake County, which is one of the largest metropolitan areas in North Carolina and has several hospitals.
Holmes said that when the only hospital in a county closes there are long-term economic implications because it is usually a significant source of employment.
“Franklin County is definitely going to notice this from an economic development standpoint,” Holmes said.
Klebba said Novant Health will work with the county and state departments to decide next steps for the facility. Novant Health will maintain the property during that time.
Novant Health will also close two of its Louisburg clinics. Novant Health Franklin General and Vascular Surgery and Novant Health Perry Medders Medical Group will close Dec. 7. The clinics employ 18 individuals on a full-time basis.
Novant Health is a four-state health system headquartered in Winston-Salem, N.C.