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WakeMed-Style Solution to Franklin Hospital Mess

 WakeMed opened a new freestanding 24 hour emergency room and treatment center in Apex this weekend complete with treatment rooms, monitoring, and a helipad.  This compliments the similar facility they opened in Northern Wake last year.

It’s a big facility on a significant property.  You can see the Google satellite photo of it under construction here.  Indeed, WakeMed is not shy about the virtues of its new venture:

[O]ur newest Healthplex features a stand-alone, 24/7, full-service Emergency Department for both kids and adults.  With physicians and nurses specially trained in emergency medicine, 12 treatment rooms, two private triage rooms and state-of-the-art monitoring…

Looking at the news of this grand opening, I couldn’t help but think about the proposed closure of Franklin Regional Hospital in Louisburg and its move to the wealthier climes of Northern Wake.  The for-profit that owns Franklin Regional, Health Management Associates, has said repeatedly and at length why it can’t keep any sort of 24 hour facility behind where the current hospital sits. 

With $34 million in new funding brought to the deal by Franklin’s new partner, UNC/Rex, it seems like one of these types of centers should be considered.  After all, why can’t the brave new partnership of Health Management Associates and UNC/Rex Hospital open up a similar facility in Louisburg?  Sure it’s rural and wouldn’t make as much money.  However, rural residents would retain access to basic emergency and health services while a new full-service hospital could serve the more urban part of the county.  And healthcare for our neighbors isn’t all about money, is it?

6 Comments

  1. Dallas Woodhouse

    February 4, 2008 at 9:49 pm

    This post is at best incorrect or worse a lie. The hospital would still be in Franklin County, not Wake. The people in Franklin County win nothing in the hospital has to close down the road.

  2. Adam Searing

    February 5, 2008 at 10:35 am

    Dallas – I think you misunderstand me. I’m saying with the additional financing, HMA perhaps can now afford to open the new hospital near the Wake line as it has planned _and_ open one of these freestanding 24hr ERs like WakeMed has done in place of the hospital they close in Louisburg. It’s not just like having a full-service hospital, but it would serve the most critical needs of northern Franklin residents without depriving the south of the planned new facility.

    This way everyone wins. Are you ready to come on board with a unique solution that looks like a good compromise?

  3. Dallas Woodhouse

    February 5, 2008 at 11:42 am

    No, I do not think you, who do not own the hospital show tell it how to operate

  4. Adam Searing

    February 5, 2008 at 1:25 pm

    But Dallas, you, as a NC taxpayer, are financing $34 million of the deal through UNC/Rex now. Doesn’t that give you at least a little bit of interest?

  5. Justing

    February 5, 2008 at 3:12 pm

    Adam,

    Thanks for the post. I thought I would share related bit from Bev Perdue’s Building a New North Carolina series…

    Bev understands the importance of rural hospitals for patients and the local economy. That’s why she has proposed her Rural HOPE initiative, a public-private partnership to modernize rural hospitals throughout North Carolina. Rural HOPE will help hospitals invest in capital improvements like the latest medical technology or by expanding and renovating their aging facilities.

    The shutdown of a rural hospital is both an economic and a health care disaster for a rural community The Rural HOPE initiative is designed to help keep them open. Go here http://bevperdue.com/release_details.asp?id=9 to read more.

    Thanks,
    Justin Guillory
    Bev Perdue Campaign

  6. Anna Johnston

    February 22, 2008 at 8:38 am

    Adam,
    I’d like to take your proposal one step further. FRMC could raze their current facility in Louisburg, build the small 24 facitily you recommend and donate the rest of the eight acre site to the County’s free clinic, EMS, health department, and proposed community health center. There is grant money available for the free clinic and community health center to construct new facilities. Franklin County could have a new efficient health complex in Louisburg that would focus on the needs of its un- and under-insured residents. FRMC would smell like a rose and be out from under costly operational expenses.
    Anna Johnston