NC Fast Facts: 12 Rural hospitals have closed or converted since 2006

Martin General Hospital closed in 2023

Martin County General Hospital in Williamston, pictured vacant on April 10, closed last year. (Karl B. DeBlaker / AP Photo)

More than 100 hospitals have downsized services or closed altogether over the past decade in rural communities across the United States. In North Carolina, 12 rural hospitals have closed or been converted to different uses since 2006.

The most recent closure was Martin General Hospital in Williamston. The 43-bed hospital, operated by Quorum Health, was closed in 2023 and left Martin County without a hospital. Residents must now travel to Windsor, in adjacent Bertie County, or Greenville for hospital care.

Rural hospital closures have been consistently occurring in North Carolina, with eight hospitals listed as closed, according to a database maintained by the Center for Health Services Research at UNC Chapel Hill.

Three hospitals — in Davie, Halifax and Richmond counties — closed in 2017. Our Community Hospital, in Scotland Neck in Halifax County, was converted into a rehabilitation facility, but the other two hospitals remain closed.

Novant Health’s Franklin Medical Center, which closed in 2015, and Good Hope Hospital in Harnett County, which closed in 2006, have been converted into an urgent care facility and outpatient care facility, respectively.

Blowing Rock Hospital, which closed in 2013, was also converted into a nursing facility.

Some hospitals in the state could be reopened or converted as Rural Emergency Hospitals under a 2021 federal program meant to reinforce access to outpatient medical services and reduce health disparities in areas that may not be able to sustain a full-service hospital. Small rural hospitals with no more than 50 beds became eligible in 2023 to apply for the rural emergency designation. No North Carolina hospitals have reopened under the program.