PCH employees stared at the face of adversity and won

On Aug. 7, I stood outside of Pineville Community Hospital with my camera and a recorder watching employees of the hospital hold up signs in protest. They weren’t downgrading the hospital, they weren’t acting outlandish, but they were simply asking for help.

The hospital was just hours away from closing its doors for good, and the employees were doing whatever they could to keep the doors open. The employees lined U.S. 25E, some in shirts that read “PCH Strong.” These employees were sending a message. They were showing everyone that they were much more than a hospital — they were a family.

As I went from person to person, I heard much of the same — not so much about how Americore ruined the hospital, but more about how the institution was one of the best for many years and that it could one day return to glory. With the exception one or two, most people I spoke with never mentioned Grant White at all. Their focus was simply the hospital.

These were the same employees who went months without pay, insurance or a sense of job security. They never knew when they woke up the next day whether or not they would have a job as they approached the hospital doors. Then, just slightly less than a week after that protest, employees received the news that First State Bank of the Southeast purchased the hospital and the doors would remain open.

I must say it is a relief that the hospital situation seems to be on much better footing than it was just one month ago, and I’d like to commend those employees who continued to fight for something they believed it. Hospital officials recently named Alan Coppock as the interim CEO, who seems to have good standing in the health care community.

With the hire, it definitely seems that things are starting to return to normal after years of ups and downs that resulted in some having to find new employment. For the employees, I hope they can go to work and continue to do what they love without the threat of closure the next day. As for the Pineville community, they now get to keep a landmark and employer that will hopefully never have to go through similar issues again.