CHARLOTTE — Charlotte’s major health systems are balancing the region’s population boom with a construction boom of their own — investing more than $1 billion in new hospitals to bring higher-level care closer to where their patients live. Hospitals are growing here at an unprecedented rate – with construction work on several projects at the same time.
Local providers are also responding to the increased demand with extensive renovations and comprehensive modernization projects. However, new hospitals are fundamental to the expansion of care. Much of the population growth in metropolitan areas is happening on the periphery, he said Steve Lawler, CEO der North Carolina Healthcare Association.
“We’re seeing the definition of downtown changing,” Lawler said. “We continue to see … double-digit increases over the past decade in terms of the number of people choosing to relocate, the number of businesses coming to North Carolina.”
An example is Atrium Health’s Union West, valued at over $151 million. This 150,000-square-foot hospital is slated to open in February on US Highway 74 and Stallings Road in Matthews. It will have 40 acute care beds, a 10-seat emergency room and three operating rooms.
It will be Atrium’s first greenfield hospital project in decades.
Building a hospital is a multi-year task. New projects are designed to accommodate the inevitable future expansions. Healthcare systems must receive confirmation of need before construction can begin. This process alone can take several months to years.
“Even with all things like COVID impacting our economic environment, the growth of the Charlotte area … really requires us to stay on top,” he said Ken Haynes, President of Greater Charlotte at Atrium Health. “To be honest, we were never able to catch up with the growth.”
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(WATCH BELOW: Atrium relocates wellness programs to make room for patients in need of immediate care)
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