CARTHAGE – Citing current space limitations in patient rooms and patient support areas, four physicians associated with FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital on Thursday, Aug. 16, urged the state to approve a certificate of need request for an $18.4 million hospital renovation project.
The four spoke during a Certificate of Need Public Hearing conducted by the Division of Health Service Regulation of the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services at the Moore County Agricultural Center in Carthage.
According to orthopedic surgeon David Casey, M.D., some of the patient rooms involved in proposed renovations to second- and third-floor nursing units at Moore Regional do not have adequate space for moving post-operative patients and accommodating support equipment.
“Due to the age of these busy units slated for renovation, maintaining our high standards for care are difficult,” Dr. Casey said. “These renovations solve those issues.”
Vascular surgeon Joel A. Berman called the renovations “imperative.”
“Of particular interest to me is the need to enlarge patient rooms to allow for in-room dialysis,” Dr. Berman said. “As a vascular surgeon, I see many patients needing vascular access for hemodialysis, and current room configurations on the units identified for renovation aren’t properly plumbed or large enough to accommodate in-room dialysis.”
Also speaking during the hearing were pulmonologist Michael Pritchett, D.O., medical director of Critical Care and of the Chest Center of the Carolinas at Moore Regional; and Dan R. Barnes, D.O., president of the FirstHealth Physician Group and medical director of FirstHealth Hospitalist Services. Both cited the need to address inefficiencies in hospital operations while accommodating dramatic changes in medical technology.
“Operational efficiencies and built-in enhancements are more important than ever to achieve and sustain high-quality care of acutely ill patients,” Dr. Pritchett said.
At issue are renovations to two floors at Moore Regional covering about 70,000 square feet in two buildings – one built in 1977 and the other in 1990. According to Jay Snyder, FirstHealth’s director of Planning, Design & Construction, neither building has been significantly renovated since its construction.
“Though we are enlarging patient rooms to make them more comfortable for patients and to provide better access for caregivers, we are not adding any square footage as a result of these renovations,” Snyder said.
The second-floor renovation will take 29 existing medical surgical beds in a unit now used for orthopedic surgery patients and convert them to a 24-bed unit serving vascular patients. Patient rooms will be enlarged from 225 to 324 square feet, and support space will also be increased where possible.
The third-floor renovation will convert an existing 32-bed medical surgical unit currently used primarily for vascular patients, two 10-bed ICUs currently used for neuro and medical intensive care, and a seven-bed heart catheterization unit vacated with the opening of the hospital’s Reid Heart Center into a 44-bed orthopedic unit. The renovation will increase the size of patient rooms and create consistency among the rooms while providing space for the comprehensive Joint Replacement patient education classes Moore Regional offers to all patients before their surgery.
The third-floor renovations will also take an existing vacant medical ICU (which relocated to Reid Heart Center) and renovate it for 20 of the beds relocated to the Heart Center for medical intensive care and return them to the hospital’s third floor. Patient room size will increase from 221 to 279 square feet per room.
According to Snyder, the renovation will provide more direct staff access to Reid Heart Center through a corridor renovation and nurses’ stations will be redesigned to improve visibility into ICU patient rooms. In addition to enhancing electrical service to the rooms to support electricity to power high-tech ICU equipment, the project will also include the installation of efficient mechanical and HVAC systems.
Construction will be undertaken in four phases to assure safety and ongoing availability to patients involved with the affected services.
“It’s important to note that although volumes are certainly growing at Moore Regional Hospital, the renovations proposed in this project are necessary regardless of the growth to assure ongoing safety, quality and efficiency of care at the hospital,” Snyder said.
Also speaking at the public hearing were Cheryl Batchelor, R.N., Moore Regional’s interim chief nursing officer; Cheryl Futrell, chief operating officer at Penick Village; Sandy Waterkotte, the recently retired vice chancellor of advancement at UNC-Pembroke who is now a resident of Moore County and a Moore Regional volunteer; and Pinehurst resident Sally Brown, who volunteers with the Foundation of FirstHealth and FirstHealth Hospice & Palliative Care.
A decision on the CON is expected by November.