HUNTERSVILLE, N.C.—Carolinas HealthCare System, Charlotte, N.C., has started work on adding a free-standing emergency department to an outpatient center in Huntersville, according to a news release. Carolinas Medical Center-NorthCross already features surgery, pain management, endoscopy and sleep lab services. The emergency department project is expected to cost $8.8 million and add 17,000 square feet to the center. The project is expected to be completed in fall 2011. The department will have nine treatment bays and two observation rooms, supported by radiology, on-site laboratory and pharmacy services. North Carolina regulators granted the project a certificate of need in October 2008. The project could not start until new space was found for physician offices within the center, and the design work to refurbish space took longer than it would to design something from scratch, according to a Carolinas spokesman. The free-standing emergency department is the fourth that Carolinas has opened or has in the works. In November 2009, the tax-exempt system opened CMC-Steele Creek in Charlotte, and it is near completion of CMC-Waxhaw (N.C.) The system also has broken ground on another free-standing emergency department in Kannapolis, N.C. That project also is expected to be completed in fall 2011.
Regionals: Carolinas HealthCare System adding new ED, and other news ...
TAMPA, Fla.—HCA, which is working to get Level 2 trauma center certification for five of its Florida hospitals, has formed a statewide program for transporting trauma patients and conducting research on trends in care, according to a news release. HCA signed an affiliation agreement with USF Health, Tampa, the academic medical center of the University of South Florida, to help local hospitals meet trauma needs by improving access and quality of trauma care. The agreement also calls for the creation of the Florida Trauma Research and Analysis Center, which will analyze trends in trauma care and patient populations, according to the release. USF Health has not yet named a director of the new trauma network. About 43% of Florida trauma cases stemmed from motor vehicle crashes in 2008, but a recent study by USF researchers concluded that fatality rates in such crashes are “closely associated” with distance to the nearest trauma center, according to the release. Only about 38% of trauma patients in Florida receive their care in a designated trauma center.
AUSTIN, Texas—St. David's HealthCare has completed its acquisition of 58-bed Heart Hospital of Austin for $83.8 million from MedCath Corp., Charlotte, N.C., according to a news release. St. David's is a joint venture owned by investor-owned HCA, Nashville, and two tax-exempt partners, the St. David's Foundation, Austin, and Georgetown (Texas) Health Foundation. The deal was first announced in February. At the end of 2009, St. David's HealthCare acquired Austin Heart, a cardiology practice that owned a stake in the hospital. MedCath owned 70.9% of the hospital, with physician investors owning the remaining 29.1% stake. The sale leaves MedCath with six heart hospitals. In March, the company announced that it was reviewing its strategic alternatives. MedCath completed sales agreements for its stakes in heart hospitals in Phoenix and Sioux Falls, S.D., on Oct. 1, according to the company. Analysts expect MedCath to sell its remaining hospitals to liquidate the company.
GREENVILLE, S.C.—Greenville Hospital System University Medical Center has expanded a 10-year partnership with Med-Trans Corp., which is part of Air Medical Group Holdings, Lewisville, Texas, to have a dedicated helicopter at the system's flagship, 686-bed Greenville Memorial Hospital, according to a news release. The helicopter will be staffed by a pilot, flight paramedic and critical-care flight nurse. The helicopter will generally cover a 100-mile radius from the hospital, although requests can be taken for patients as far as 200 miles away. Med-Trans also has partnerships with two other providers in upstate South Carolina—AnMed Health in Anderson and Spartanburg (S.C.) Regional Healthcare System—so the three helicopters can provide backup to one another, according to the release.
SPRING HILL, Tenn.—The Tennessee Health Services and Development Agency has approved a stand-alone emergency department proposed by HCA's TriStar Health System in Spring Hill by a 4-3 vote. The agency's board has twice approved proposals by Nashville-based HCA to build a 56-bed hospital in Spring Hill, a bedroom community about 35 miles south of Nashville. Both of those certificates of need were reversed on appeals brought by local competitors in the state. Robert Otwell, CEO of one of the competitors, Maury Regional Medical Center, Columbia, said in a statement that the hospital does not plan to appeal the decision. Otwell said the proposed facility would be more like an urgent-care center than a true emergency room, with more-serious cases transferred to HCA's Centennial Medical Center in Nashville. Another competitor, Williamson Medical Center, Franklin, is considering proposals to offer 24/7 urgent-care services in Spring Hill with Maury Regional and Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, according to a statement attributed to Williamson CEO Dennis Miller. The statement did not say whether the hospital is considering an appeal of the decision.
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