FRANKLIN COUNTY (WTVD) --Emergency services could soon return to Franklin County nine months after the hospital closed.
In October last year, Novant Health pulled out of the area and closed Franklin Medical Center.
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Since then, county and state leaders have been working to get emergency services restored.
State Sen. Chad Barefoot, a Republican who represents District 18, said they had one major hurdle to overcome. He said state hospital licensing laws allow emergency services to operate in an area only if there is an established hospital.
Barefoot said the state budget that was recently passed includes language that takes that hurdle away. So now there is an open door for the county to again get emergency services.
"We want our citizens to be able to receive proper healthcare, especially in emergency situations," said Sydney Dunston, Franklin County Commission Chair. "They can go to the hospital, to the emergency room, to be at least stabilized if nothing else and then if they need to be transferred to a bigger facility, that's fine."
Franklin County also qualifies under another part of the budget that funds mental health services.
All those details will be worked out once the county finds a healthcare provider. Dunston said it plans to start that process as soon as possible.
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