Downturn? What downturn?

By: - September 23, 2008 3:25 pm

It seems that the skidding economy has done little to derail the expansion plans of health care executives.

In the latest round of hospital construction filings with the state, Carolinas Medical Center – NorthEast, located in Concord, wants to spend $254 million on building a new bed tower and adding services.

Gaston Memorial Hospital proposes to use the WakeMed healthplex model in building a $22 million freestanding emergency department in Mount Holly.

In Raleigh, a date and location has now been set for a public hearing on the 41 acute care beds up for grabs between Rex, WakeMed, and Novant. Area residents can speak out at 1pm on October 20 at the Lighthouse Convention Center on Tryon Road.

Despite downturns in the residential and commercial real estate markets, nonprofit hospitals in nearly every major metro area of North Carolina are engaged in massive projects. On the one hand, hospital construction can add some much needed stimulus to the state's economy. On the other hand, hospitals could have trouble paying for the growth if there are major cuts to Medicare or Medicaid reimbursements, or if no action is taken by lawmakers to reduce the number of uninsured.

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