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WakeMed-Style Solution to Franklin Hospital Mess

 WakeMed opened a new freestanding 24 hour emergency room [1] and treatment center in Apex this weekend complete with treatment rooms, monitoring, and a helipad.  This compliments the similar facility [2] 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 [3].  Indeed, WakeMed is not shy about the virtues [4] 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 [5].  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?