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Franklin Hospital's Proposed Move Sparks Debate

Posted January 16, 2008

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— People in Franklin County got to speak their minds during a public hearing Wednesday about Franklin Regional Medical Center's proposed move.

Hospital administrators want to move the hospital from its current location on U.S. Highway 401 in Louisburg to a site in Youngsville.

If the plan goes forward, Franklin Regional would move farther away from the county's poorest areas and closer to two other hospitals in northern Wake County. The current 8-acre Louisburg site has been treating patients for 55 years.

”This is all about trying to get closer to Wake County where there's much richer folks [who] certainly can pay more money,” Louisburg Mayor Pro-Tem Boyd Sturges said.

Hospital administrators said the move to Youngsville is necessary to accommodate the county's growing population. The $103 million proposed hospital would include 188,000 square feet of space and provide 70 acute-care beds and three operating rooms.

“Having a local, state-of-the-art medical center in Franklin County could add years to our lives,” former Franklinton Mayor Jenny Edwards said.

“This will be a shining star within the community. We will be able to recruit more specialists and have more doctors,” said Franklin Regional Chief Executive Officer Brian Gwyn.

The state rejected Franklin Regional's first certificate-of-need application this summer. Then, Rex Hospital joined Franklin Regional's push for the new facility, and Franklin filed a new application. The opposition's argument remains the same: would the move hinder care for the elderly and underprivileged people of Franklin County? Opponents argue they may have a difficult time traveling to a non-central location.

“What's going to happen to the people in the remote areas of the county?" Louisburg Town Council member Bill Williamson asked.

Those in favor said Franklin Regional can't afford not to make the move.

“With a brand new set of resources ... you create an environment that new physicians want to work there,” said David Strong, President of Rex Healthcare.

Rex Hospital and Franklin Regional recently conducted a poll in Franklin County. According to the results, 70 percent of residents were in favor of the proposed move. Louisburg town officials discounted the results, however, claiming the poll questions were skewed in favor of the move.

State regulators are expected to decide on the move in April.

14 Comments

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  • Darren Jan 17, 2008

    SEOpro, my point is that we're talking about a private business that should have the right to do whatever they want with their facility. No one has a right to health care, and no one has the right to tell a private business whether they can or cannot relocate or what conditions they must adhere to. The government, and all you people looking for ways to take advantage of other people, need to stay out of private decisions and let Franklin Regional do what it wants. It's very, very simple.

  • SEOpro Jan 17, 2008

    I tried to post a few minutes ago but something happened - so I apologize if this is redundant.

    My point was - I live in Franklin County. Had the hospital been the additional 22 miles away (the distance to Youngsville), my husband would have probably lost his hand from a tablesaw accident and I would probably be dead. I would have decided to wait to go to Raleigh "in the morning" because of the long distance to travel and my meningitis would not have been diagnosed at 1 am in the morning - like it WAS because Franklin Regional was there in Louisburg, so we decided to go.

    If doctors have to be enticed with huge paychecks and a new facility, why not do it at the Louisburg location? The people of Louisburg / Franklin Co. would feel great about using the facility more than ever before - or don't we count?

    Youngsville may be "long overdue", so build a separate facility.... and Wake Forest, well, Wake Forest isn't in our county. Bug your own county planning department.

  • LaLa-Land Jan 17, 2008

    It doesn't matter if they moved next door to me, I still would drive someplace else based on my experience with this facility. They can build a brand new shiny hospital but the same people who work at the old one will be working at the new one.

  • Darren Jan 17, 2008

    davidgnews,
    The issue shouldn't be "serving a community." The issue should be that Franklin Regional is owned by a private business, and that business should have the right to do whatever they want with their hospital, whether that means expanding it, moving it, telling people whose last names start with 'S' to get lost, or closing the place altogether. They shouldn't need permission from Louisburg, Franklin County, the state, or anyone else. Health care is not a right, and people need to stop acting like it is.

  • iamforjustice Jan 17, 2008

    I would suggest M-A-S-H.

  • davidgnews Jan 17, 2008

    The existing facility needs upgrading and have a satellite clinic or smaller hospital in Youngsville. This issue has more to do with clout and money than serving a community.

  • Harry Canyon Jan 17, 2008

    How are the people in the central and northern parts of the county supposed to get to the new hospital? Well if it's an emergency then I guess they'll do what they always have done, call an ambulance. If it's not an emergency,drive or call k.a.r.t.s.

  • gopanthers Jan 17, 2008

    godukebasketball - that is a very good idea and yes it has been brought up many time here on post anyway. As far as the officials go I don't know the answer to that one. I'd rather see two smaller hospital's both equipped as Trauma Centers then all this bikering going back and forth. Personally (could be wrong) no expert here but I think Wake Med has a lot of pull in this issue. They are a city within a city and control all that we see and here.

  • godukebasketball Jan 17, 2008

    Perhaps a better option would be to keep the one hospital in the Northern portion to provide basic services and build a new hospital closer to Wake County. Has anyone considered that? I don't know the population make-up of that part of Franklin County, but if it's like many rural and poor parts of our country, these individuals may not have transportation to be able to drive the 15 miles to the new hospital.

    The closest hospital to Wake Forest, WakeMed North, is just a free-standing ED. But there are 3 full service hospitals in Wake County (Duke Raleigh, WakeMed, and Rex) to serve the population of Wake County.

  • whatelseisnew Jan 17, 2008

    If you live in a remote part of the county and you determine that it is important for you to be closer to a hospital than you currently are at the moment the answer is very simple. Move.

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