WakeMed wins battle over beds

RALEIGH The decision by the North Carolina Division of Health Service Regulation settles the latest tussle over who will provide health care to the rapidly growing Raleigh area, and it also means Holly Springs has lost its bid for a hospital despite a large public relations push.

WakeMed said in a statement that the acute-care beds will be used for women's focused inpatient services. They'll be added to the 20 acute care beds already approved for transfer from its Raleigh campus.

It said the WakeMed North Healthplex will be Wake County’s fifth full-service hospital and the county’s first and only women’s hospital.

Construction is expected to begin February 2010 and is slated to be complete by October 2011.

“North Healthplex has been extremely successful since opening in 2002, demonstrating the need for health care services in this community,” explained Dr. Bill Atkinson, president and CEO, WakeMed Health & Hospitals, in a statement released to the media.

The decision by the North Carolina Division of Health Service Regulation did not sit well with Rex healthcare which was denied a request to add 41 beds to its main campus in Raleigh.

“We are disappointed that the state did not decide to provide these beds to Rex and its patients,” Rex Healthcare president David Strong offered. “Every day, enough babies are born at our hospital to fill an elementary school class, and we do not see this growth subsiding. At the same time, we are seeing more patients throughout our hospital, making the need for beds at our hospital vitally important."

Strong said the hospital will appeal the state's decision.

Rex meanwhile did win approval for four new operating rooms for orthopedic patients, which will be housed in a new ambulatory orthopedic surgery center near the Rex Hospital campus in Raleigh.

WakeMed was denied permission to add two operating rooms to WakeMed North Healthplex and two ORs to WakeMed Cary Hospital.

“Since we just received the decision, we have not determined if we will be filing an appeal. In the coming days, we will be closely reviewing the findings before deciding next steps,” commented Stan Taylor, WakeMed senior vice president of corporate planning and managed care.

It has 30 days to appeal.

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