Clayton, N.C. — Johnston Health wants to build a 50-bed hospital in Clayton to accommodate growing demand in the northwest portion of the county.
The Smithfield-based health system opened a medical center on N.C. Highway 42 in Clayton three years ago that includes an emergency room, two operating rooms and imaging and lab services. Officials said they expected the facility to treat 27 patients on an average day, but about 80 people a day now visit the ER there.
"It's very hard to see everyone as fast as you want to see them and as fast as the patient wants to be seen," said Dr. Eric Manring, director of the Clayton ER. "The growth is far exceeding what Johnston Health could have imagined."
About 7 percent of the patients have to be admitted to the hospital, which means transferring them to Johnston Medical Center in Smithfield – 17 miles away.
That's why Johnston Health wants to build a second hospital next to its Clayton operation. The system has already asked state regulators permission to shift 27 acute-care beds from Smithfield to Clayton.
Johnston Health wants to start construction of the $50 million hospital by the summer, and it its considering partnering with WakeMed or Rex Healthcare in Raleigh or Vidant Health in Greenville on the project.
"We can go forward and borrow the funds, or perhaps one of our other options is to affiliate with a larger organization," said Chuck Elliott, chief executive of Johnston Health.