The providers are Novant Health, UNC Health Care System's Rex Healthcare and WakeMed Health & Hospitals. None of the three has filed its CON application yet, but all said they will meet the application deadline.
Novant, based in Winston-Salem, N.C., will propose to build a community hospital in Holly Springs, in the southern part of Wake County, according to Kati Everett, a spokeswoman for Novant. The system is not releasing details of its proposal, including the number of beds, until it files its CON application, Everett said in an e-mail. Last summer, Novant won CON approval to build a surgery center in Holly Springs—that ruling is being appealed, Everett said. The system has a physician practice in Holly Springs already, Everett added.
Rex Healthcare will propose two community hospitals—a 50-bed hospital in Holly Springs and a 40-bed hospital in the northern part of Wake County, according to Steve Burriss, senior vice president of operations and ambulatory care. Rex also will propose adding 11 beds to its 431-bed main campus in Raleigh.
Rex has a presence in both of these areas already, Burriss said. It is developing an outpatient center in Holly Springs. In the Wakefield area, it has an outpatient center that offers surgery, cancer care, urgent care, laboratory and diagnostic services and a medical office building, with a wellness center too, Burriss said. The Wakefield center is thriving and needs a hospital to support it, Burriss said.
Rex also has strong physician support for its projects, Burriss said. Rex's ties to physicians were the subject of a public records request that WakeMed made to UNC Health Care last year (Dec. 6, 2010, p. 14).
WakeMed continues to pursue the request for records relating to contacts between UNC entities and WakeMed physicians, because it believes the limited disclosures so far do not fulfill the request, said a WakeMed spokeswoman.
WakeMed believes Holly Springs, at about 24,000 residents, is not large enough to justify a new hospital when it is only five miles from WakeMed Cary, Taylor said. Expanding that hospital is a cheaper way to accomplish the same thing, perhaps at one-third to one-half the cost on a per-bed basis, he said.
Likewise, WakeMed has a CON approval to build a 61-bed hospital on the north side of Raleigh two miles from Rex's proposed Wakefield facility, Taylor said. “I think they're trying to counter that and impede in that market,” Taylor said. “Given the cost pressures and the challenges to the healthcare system, I'm not sure that two hospitals that close together make sense.”