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Protecting the Future of Healthcare in Martin County

Below is an update from Ascendient and Martin County regarding the lease of Martin General Hospital and the provision of healthcare in the county.


  • Martin County has always maintained that its number one goal is to ensure the sustainable provision of healthcare in the region.
  • In August, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee was appointed by Delaware’s bankruptcy court to oversee the assets held by Williamston Hospital Corporation. The bankruptcy trustee has turned over control of the lease, including the hospital building and its assets, to the County.
  • Ascendient and the County’s expectation was that Williamston Hospital Corporation would continue to provide services through the end of their lease in 2028. Given this, Ascendient and the County were awaiting the passage of rural emergency hospital legislation to begin speaking with potential operators about this designation, among others, as a viable solution for the long-term provision of healthcare in the county.
  • Regarding the County’s ownership of the hospital—the County does not have the experience or needed licenses and approvals to be a hospital operator, nor does it have the funds or infrastructure to do so. This is why the hospital was leased to Williamston Hospital Corporation, and why it is important to find an operator who is willing to commit to this community.


  • Now the trustee and the County are determining what assets remain in the hospital that belong to Williamston Hospital Corporation and to outside vendors and preparing for removal and possible retention of some of those items.
  • Ascendient’s work includes evaluating all plausible options and aligning on what’s best for the community based on the condition of the hospital and its assets, the opportunities for additional funding sources and potential new operators.
  • Recently, the North Carolina legislature passed a new budget, which includes a provision for a new rural emergency hospital (REH designation). Martin County was instrumental in getting this legislation added to the state’s budget for this year—this designation likely would not have been possible without efforts by Martin County and its legislative officials.
  • A rural emergency hospital designation is a classification granted to hospitals located in rural areas, determined by specific criteria set forth by the federal government. It acknowledges and provides financial assistance to rural hospitals, like Martin General Hospital, facing distinct challenges because of their geographic location and the patients they serve.
  • Ascendient and the County will continue to work together to further explore the feasibility of this designation and other potential options. This is a complex situation, and therefore we will be exploring short- and long-term solutions to ensure the people of Martin County can access the care they need here, now and into the future.
  • The current arrangement for patients to obtain their hospital medical records continues, and the County is working with the trustee, who is responsible for the records, for a process for continued access.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I go for care now that the hospital is closed?

  • The nearest emergency room is ECU Health Beaufort Hospital in Washington, NC is 22 miles south.
  • The following clinics remain open to care for patients: Martin Family Medicine, Agape Health Services.

Where can I go to remain up to date?

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