NHRMC Evaluating Plans for New Tower Under Construction

October 30, 2019
New Tower2

A plan to change the focus of the new patient tower under construction on the 17th Street campus is moving ahead. NHRMC’s Executive Leadership Team approved the two main tenets of the plan on Tuesday.  They agreed the tower scheduled to open in 2020 should be used for heart and vascular services and that orthopedics should be anchored in a new community hospital planned for Scotts Hill.

Since being introduced a week ago, the proposed change has met with widespread approval in concept. Benefits include accelerating additional space for much-needed heart, vascular and neuroscience services and keeping inpatient and outpatient orthopedics services together.  The change will also save millions of dollars in planned capital needs.

Under the new plan, all orthopedics will stay at the Orthopedics Hospital on the Cape Fear Campus until a new hospital can be built on NHRMC’s property in Scotts Hill.  Originally, only outpatient surgery would remain at the campus when inpatient surgery moved into the new tower. NHRMC had been looking for another plan for outpatient orthopedics, including a joint venture, but that had not yet developed.

The need to keep an emergency department open on the Cape Fear campus also has extended the planned use of the facility. A replacement emergency department is planned for NHRMC’s property at Autumn Hall, but that opening is at least a few years away.

“Because the Cape Fear campus will remain open for longer than initially anticipated, it made sense to keep the full orthopedics program together on that site,” said David Oehler, Administrator of the Orthopedic Hospital. “Our teams have welcomed this news, recognizing the value in staying together as well as what it means to our patients to have an easy to access facility.”  

Additional maintenance work and upgrades will be completed to keep the Orthopedic Hospital fully functional for a longer period.

The move of heart and vascular services to the new patient tower will allow for other services to expand in its vacated spaces. It’s expected to be used primarily for the growth of the neurosciences program, which was also in the long-term capital plan, but can now be done much sooner. It will allow for the needed expansion of medicine and geriatric services.

“By making these changes, we can move up the planned growth of heart, vascular and neuroscience programs by a decade or more,” said Grant Rush, Administrator of Surgical Services. “These are areas that attract patients from throughout the region.”

Teams are now working through operational questions, including addressing CON and licensure filings, the flow of patients through the system, and workflow for employees and medical staff. Each of these discussions involve people throughout the organization and will influence where services are moved, how they’re phased, and how that will impact the ultimate timing.