Carolinas HealthCare wants 24-7 pavilion at Providence-I-485
Carolinas HealthCare System wants to start construction on a new emergency department on Providence Road as it continues a push to open CMC-Waxhaw.
The Charlotte-based health-care giant filed a certificate-of-need application with the N.C. Division of Facility Services Sept. 15 for a facility on Providence Road south of I-485, near the Mecklenburg County border.
If the state approves, Carolinas HealthCare officials hope to open the new center in January 2014. CHS officials also filed an application to open an emergency department at its Moorocroft center near SouthPark.
As they begin their review, state officials will treat the proposed new facilities as competing with each other, according to Martha Frisone, assistant chief of the state’s Certificate of Need Section. The state is taking that position because Carolinas Healthcare officials acknowledge in their petition that the new facilities would have overlapping patient service areas, she said.
That doesn’t mean state officials won’t approve the request, Frisone emphasized. The state standard says competing medical facilities should unnecessarily duplicate services. But state officials could decide to approve one of the emergency departments and not the other, she said.
In the same way, state officials will exam if the proposed Providence Road emergency department would unnecessarily duplicate services Carolinas HealthCare expects to provide in a stand-alone emergency department already licensed and under construction in nearby Waxhaw. “We will certainly look at that,” she said this week.
The two new centers – referred to as “health-care pavilions” – would serve the population living in the triangle formed by Carolinas Medical Center-Main, CMC-Matthews and CMC-Pineville, according to Russ Guerin, the company’s executive vice president for business development and planning. Though the area may seem to have sophisticated health-care facilities available already, Guerin said the emergency departments at all three hospitals are currently overcrowded.
“What our approach has been is rather than keep adding onto the emergency departments at our existing hospitals is providing other access points for people who want to be in the Carolinas HealthCare System,” Guerin said.
The new centers will offer advanced care closer to places patients live. “Look at the roads,” Guerin said. “People who are on Providence Road, they can come down to” the new facility south of I-485.
About 30,000 square feet of new construction would cost an estimated $28 million.
Carolinas HealthCare wants to build the 26,500-square-foot Providence pavilion at a new site on Providence Road, near the Mecklenburg-Union county line, at an estimated cost of $27.7 million.
The Providence facility would have 10 emergency treatment rooms and all the other facilities of Morrocroft.
Pushing forward on CMC-Waxhaw
Carolinas HealthCare is currently trying to finish another stand-alone emergency department in Waxhaw, roughly 8 miles away from the Providence site. But Guerin, the executive vice president, said the facilities “will serve very different markets” and not compete.
Company officials expect the Waxhaw facility will serve the numerous western Union County towns and subdivisions that have sprung up around them.
Officially, the state will begin its review of Carolinas HealthCare’s request Oct. 1, and state law requires the Certificate of Need Section make a ruling within 90 days, or no later than Feb. 27.
If state officials approve, the two south Charlotte emergency departments would become the sixth and seventh such facilities in the Carolinas HealthCare system.
Besides Steele Creek, Carolinas HealthCare expects to open three more stand-alone emergency departments – in Waxhaw, Huntersville and Kannapolis – “in the next few months,” according to the news release. The organization also has state approval to open a stand-alone emergency department in Harrisburg, though construction has not started, Guerin said.
Since 2003, the state has approved 17 licenses for stand-alone emergency departments throughout North Carolina, according to Jim Jones, spokesman for the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.
Wake Medical in Durham got approval for the first in the state in 2003, and as other examples, Jones said Johnston Memorial got approval for such a facility in Clayton, and Moses A. Cone medical center received a license for one in High Point.
“They’re not the only game in town doing this,” Jones added.