UNC Health Care has opened a $235 million heart hospital on its Rex hospital campus in Raleigh, N.C., responding to growing volumes and consolidating procedures previously spread across that campus.
UNC Rex Healthcare is paying for the 114-bed heart hospital with operating reserves, $10 million in philanthropic funds and part of the proceeds of a $150 million debt offering in 2015, said Chad Lefteris, vice president of operations at UNC Rex Healthcare.
The hospital is called the North Carolina Heart & Vascular Hospital.
Rex is one of 12 locations UNC Health Care operates across the state, Lefteris said. It is located in the heart of the so-called Research Triangle in fast-growing Wake County.
Rex has seen a boom in heart and vascular procedures as the population of Wake County has almost doubled to 1 million people since 2000, Lefteris said.
In 2016, physicians at UNC Rex performed 5,454 cardiac catheterizations and percutaneous coronary interventions vs. 2,792 in 2011, said Dr. Jim Zidar, physician in chief of UNC Health Care's heart and vascular service line.
Cardiac surgeries totaled 568 in 2016, up 26.5% compared with 449 in 2011, Zidar said.
In 2016 alone, Rex took in 3,116 patients from across the state.
When heart and vascular care was performed at the existing 433-bed hospital on campus, those services were spread over nine locations and four floors. Now they are all centralized at the new hospital, making procedures more efficient and convenient for patients, Zidar said.
The new hospital has 600 employees, 100 more than were dedicated to heart services at the existing hospital, Lefteris said. The new hospital also has eight observation rooms and 48 preparation and recovery rooms, freeing up space at the existing hospital for other patients, he said.