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Health care providers vie for what new beds the state will allow

Posted October 20, 2008

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— Representatives from three area health care providers made their pitches to state regulators Monday for 41 new acute-care hospital beds that planners say are needed in Wake County.

In a hearing room filled with more than 250 people, it was clear that a lot is at stake. It was the last chance for hospitals and their supporters to make the case that each of them is the one that should be allocated the new beds and the income that comes with them.

“In Wake County we need more full service hospitals not Band-Aid stations,” said Michael McKillip, a project analyst with the state Department of Health and Human Services. The department’s Division of Health Services Regulation decides who gets the 41 beds, as well as six operating rooms it says the county needs. To build the facilities, a hospital must have what is called a certificate of need.

WakeMed, Rex Hospital and a proposed Holly springs Hospital are the three making the pitch.

“Health care facilities and beds are very expensive. They're also mostly paid for ... by taxpayer dollars, by the government,” McKillip said. That is why the state regulates the beds to be built, basing the decision on population and growth projections.

Each facility had its supporters.

“I wish to profess my support of the hospital in our area, the Holly Springs Hospital,” Fuquay-Varina Mayor John Byrnes said.

“I just worked all weekend, and the department was busy, with people lying around waiting to go to the floor. We need those extra beds,” said Dr. Damian F. McHugh, an emergency room physician at Rex Healthcare.

“We have the highest utilization rate in the county. On any given day, patients are not able to get into the beds that we have,” WakeMed CEO William Atkinson said.

“It's a difficult decision, but we're used to it,” the health department’s McKillip said. He said the agency hopes to have a decision by the end of January.

The operating rooms are also a subject of competition. Orthopaedic Surgery Center of Raleigh wants to open four rooms. Blue Ridge Surgery Center wants two. WakeMed wants to add two at its WakeMed North Healthplex, which is where it wants to put the 41 new beds, and two at WakeMed Cary.

Southern Surgical Center wants to add four operating rooms and a room for minor procedures. Holly Springs Hospital wants four operating rooms.

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  • MamaBearNC Oct 22, 2008

    I didn't know the government was involved with the hospitals...sounds like Canada hospitals where the hospitals ask the government for more beds. Strange

  • 68_polara Oct 22, 2008

    “Health care facilities and beds are very expensive. They're also mostly paid for ... by taxpayer dollars, by the government,” McKillip said.

    What! Hospitals charge such enormous amounts of money to use these tax funded facilities! Your right whatelseisnew if the government didn't get involved in the fist place private investment would be creating the facilities where and when needed. As it is now there is no way they are going to invest their own money if the government offers to pay for them.

  • whatelseisnew Oct 20, 2008

    This is just one more reason why Government should not be involved in health care. Consider that statement "Because taxpayer dollars are involved" the Government will dictate how many beds and where they will be. SO keep on asking for Government involvement folks. You will deserve what you asked for.

  • Isabella Oct 20, 2008

    Besides the fact that it is kinds silly that any hospital has to go through all this to get more beds, Holly Springs is definately in need of a hospital! Even if they were to get the beds, it would be the closest hospital to me and that is a 20 minute drive. Right now, at best, it is a 30+ minute to the nearest hospital (easily more if there is traffic). The southern portion of Wake County has been ignored for years but is growing rapidly. We need services down in south Wake County!