State approves WakeMed to build new hospitals and restricts others
The state has given WakeMed preliminary approval to build a new hospital in Garner and a new mental health hospital in Knightdale. The state also approved adding beds to both Duke Raleigh and UNC Rex hospitals.
All hospitals had to file a Certificate of Need (CON) with the state in order to gain approval.
WakeMed’s proposed Garner hospital, at the corner of White Oak Road and Timber Drive, would have 31 acute care beds, including 22 relocated from their main campus in Raleigh and nine new ones. In addition, the hospital will house two operating rooms. If all goes as planned, groundbreaking on the $214 million hospital would occur by fall 2024, with an opening date sometime in 2026 or 2027.
The $137 million, 150-bed Behavior Health Center in Knightdale will have separate units for adolescents, young adults, adults, and people older than 65 and will offer outpatient services. Ground should be broken sometime next year and be open by late 2026.
Certificate of Need decisions have a 30-day appeal period in which a health system can contest the allocation of beds. If one does, the case would then be heard by the state Office of Administrative Hearings. Both WakeMed facilities have passed the deadline as of Monday.
Duke Raleigh Hospital had requested an additional 45 acute care beds but only received approval for 18. UNC Rex Raleigh was also approved for 18 beds but requested 36 and two additional operating rooms, and another nine beds for its 50-bed Rex hospital in Holly Springs, which opened in late 2021.
Duke received state approval in 2021 to build a 40-bed hospital in western Cary. The hospital, which will have two operating rooms and a 24-hour emergency department, will be built on Green Level West Road at the interchange with N.C. 540.
Certificate of Need laws have been problematic for doctors and medical facilities in North Carolina.
The laws require doctors or medical personnel and medical facilities to get approval from the state before they can add beds to an existing facility, build a new facility, or buy a new piece of equipment.
North Carolina has the third strictest CON laws in the nation, limiting private practices’ ability to offer more services. Separate bills, Senate Bill 48 and the companion House Bill 107, filed in January, would repeal CON laws. However, hospitals have resisted CON reform, arguing that an oversupply of healthcare services will eventually lead some providers to fail, leaving consumers with fewer, more costly options.