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State awards new hospital beds to WakeMed

Posted January 28, 2009

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— WakeMed on Wednesday won a three-way battle for 41 new hospital beds in Wake County.

State regulators determined last year that, based on growth projections, the county needed another 41 hospital beds. On Wednesday, the state Division of Health Service Regulation approved WakeMed's application to put those beds in a proposed women's hospital at its North Healthplex facility off Durant and Falls of Neuse roads in north Raleigh.

In giving the beds to WakeMed, regulators denied applications by Rex Healthcare and Novant Healthcare. Novant wanted to build a $110 million, 46-bed facility in Holly Springs, while Rex wanted to add to its obstetrics and surgical-patient beds.

WakeMed plans to add the 41 beds to 20 already approved for the 72,300-square-foot women's hospital. Construction on the $34 million project is expected to begin in February 2010 and be completed by October 2011.

Rex President David Strong said the hospital plans to appeal the state's decision.

"It’s difficult to understand WakeMed’s serious need for these 41 beds since the 60 beds they were awarded in 2005 have not been put into service," Strong said in a statement.

“Every day, enough babies are born at our hospital to fill an elementary school class, and we do not see this growth subsiding. At the same time, we are seeing more patients throughout our hospital, making the need for beds at our hospital vitally important," he said.

In a statement issued after Strong spoke, WakeMed said the 60 beds to which he referred are going into its main hospital in a construction project that is complicated and is scheduled to be done next January.

There was no immediate reaction to the state action from Novant or from Holly Springs officials, who had lobbied for a new hospital in southern Wake County since last summer.

Regulators also approved Rex's joint application with Raleigh Orthopaedic Clinic for four orthopedic operating rooms in a new outpatient surgery center, while denying WakeMed's applications to add two operating rooms at its North Healthplex facility and two at WakeMed Cary Hospital.

WakeMed President and Chief Executive Officer Bill Atkinson said the hospital hasn't decided whether to appeal that decision.


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  • itsnews2me Jan 29, 2009

    They obviously should have awarded these 41 beds to the Raleigh City Plaza in an effort to bring more people downtown.

  • littlegramma Jan 28, 2009

    Wake Med is the area's designated hosital to take any and all comers...so it does have county gov't involvement. And that is why they got the contract. And as someone earlier mentioned, it is ridiculous to have to go thru biased gov't bodies to get beds for hospitals anywhere! This is another step/push toward soclialized medicine. Happy, those of you who voted Dem this past election? This is only the beginning...of the end of American way of life and gov't. Ready for the USof SA.

  • mom of four Jan 28, 2009

    The NC Certificate of Need Law "restricts unnecessary increases in health care costs and limits unnecessary health services and facilities based on geographic, demographic and economic considerations" (http://www.dhhs.state.nc.us/dhsr/coneed/index.html.

    Very interesting...this area and the entitlement people feel for themselves. The purpose is for the greater good for the greater number. Taking into consideration the "need" these bed were awarded accordingly. If you lived anywhere else in North Carolina you would have no choice. There is little to no competition in the east or southeast. For example, in New Hanover County, New Hanover Health Network is the only game in town...and out of town. Burgaw, to the north of Wilmington, has a critical access hospital that is part of New Hanover. The patients are stabilized there and transferred. These people are from rural areas and their familes cannot get to them sometimes due to transportation issues or financial issues.

  • davidgnews Jan 28, 2009

    Get Government out and get market forces in. Throw out insurance; get market forces in.

    I agree. There's a lot of meddling, politics, and bureaucracy behind these decisions - just follow the money. Wake Med is also a political powerhouse.

  • whatelseisnew Jan 28, 2009

    Get Government out and get market forces in. Throw out insurance; get market forces in.

  • danofnc Jan 28, 2009

    mom of four:

    WakeMed isn't adding these beds at the "centrally located" hospital. They are adding them to their North Raleigh campus.

    Do you want me to estimate how long it would take me to get my wife there from Fuquay?

    These beds should have been awarded on need. Since the Holly Springs/Fuquay area is the ONLY part of Wake County without a hospital, the need is obvious. Wake Forest is only a short drive from WakeMed's North Raleigh facility. Knightdale/Wendell is a quick drive down US 64 from the central facility. Holly Springs and Fuquay residents have to battle 401 traffic to get to central WakeMed, and 2 lane traffic to get to WakeMed Cary or Rex. The WakeMed and Rex facilities in this situation are mostly proposing to add specialized services in areas already served by hospitals. The Novant proposal was going to give faster access to emergency services and a full hospital to residents who are not currently served by a truly local hospital.

  • NCMacMan Jan 28, 2009

    @Textiledeva @Vietnam Vet

    I have family in states who have repealled the CON laws and now those states are considering putting them back in place. These family members work for hospitals who are struggling to survive because once the restrictions were lifted, competitors came in and built specialty hospitals, cherry picking the high profit and insured patients away from the safety-net hospitals.

    I think that the CON laws are there to ensure that the community continues to have good care available to all. Its not a perfect system, but unless someone comes up with something better, its what our state has.

    For example, look up the trauma hospital situation in Atlanta. The hospital is failing and it is the only trauma center in the city. Specialty hospitals moved into the suburbs taking the paying patients away and the trauma center only receives 3% of its funding from insured patients.

    I wouldn't want that happening here...

  • Vietnam Vet Jan 28, 2009

    "Looks like they are leaving those of us in South Wake County in the lurch again. We NEED a hospital down south here. We are forced to drive a minimum of 30 minutes to the nearest hospital, tho it is easily longer for many of us. Thanks a lot NC."
    I agree with Isabella! I think that there is a need for a hospital in the south county, Holly Springs/Fuquay-Varina area. Unfortunately it appears that nobody believes that there is population enough in that part of the county to support a hospital and therefore none of the current systems in the county are not looking to invest in a facility there. Apparently the state is also in agreement with that scenario as they didn't approve Novart's plan for a facility in Holly Springs.

  • textilesdiva Jan 28, 2009

    Why on earth is the _state_ involved in deciding how many hospital beds each county should have?

    I'm with vietnam vet on this one: since hospitals are pretty much always hurting for money, they'll provide (nearly) enough beds, but not so many that they end up wasting money in the process.

    Whatever idiot said 'No, let's tinker with the supply curve on something critical like healthcare' is an idiot who clearly never paid attention in econ in college. What on earth did they think was going to happen?

    I hate how the gov't at all levels has just GOT to have its hands somewhere. My life is not a cookie jar, and neither is everyone else's.

  • sandfin Jan 28, 2009

    Maybe we could use the tolls from our portion of 540 to pay for our own hospital. Or, maybe we should just secede from Wake County. Harnett or Johnston might want Holly Springs and Fuquay's tax bases.

    Hmmm, where's the change?