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FirstHealth Announces Plans for a 65-Bed Hospital; Drops 2009 CON Application

| Date Posted: 3/2/2011

RAEFORD – FirstHealth of the Carolinas has announced its intention to file a new Certificate of Need application for a 65-bed hospital to be built in Hoke County.  In the 2011 State Medical Facilities Plan, the Division of Health Service Regulation has recommended that 65 beds be available in the multi-county planning district that includes Hoke and Cumberland counties. 

“We are pleased the State has recognized the additional need and increased the number of beds potentially available for the Hoke County community,” said Charles T. Frock, CEO of FirstHealth of the Carolinas.  “Our original plans called for a smaller hospital based on the number of beds we could move from Moore Regional Hospital to serve only Hoke County.  With the 2011 State Medical Facilities Plan, the State has created an opportunity to propose a larger hospital without our having to move beds from Moore Regional.”  

Preliminary plans suggest the hospital will cost approximately $100 million to construct while adding anywhere between 300 and 500 jobs to the Hoke County work force.  The proposed scope of services includes:

65 medical-surgical beds and observation beds
24-hour emergency department with treatment rooms
Two operating rooms
Imaging services
Labor and delivery
Diagnostic cardiology
Laboratory services
Critical care transport

“The economic impact FirstHealth is bringing to this community is undeniable,” said Julian King, Hoke County resident and business owner and vice chair of FirstHealth’s Board of Directors.   “FirstHealth’s announcement to increase the number of beds at its Hoke Hospital and continue development on the campus will draw untold numbers of businesses to our county.  The increase in the tax base will help the county’s budget, fund schools and encourage further development.  This expansion is critical as the state and county face substantial budget shortfalls.” 

In addition to filing a new application, FirstHealth is also moving forward with expansion of its planned Hoke County campus on Highway 401.  The plans for the site include a comprehensive health care campus with medical office buildings, an urgent care center, diagnostic and imaging services, a health & fitness center and other health related services.

“We have been serving Hoke County for more than 20 years and have received overwhelming support for our services and expansion plans,” said Frock.  “That support and our continued commitment to Hoke have strengthened our resolve to carry on with our plans despite continued roadblocks.” 

FirstHealth filed applications to build a hospital in Hoke County in 2009 and 2010.  Both of those applications have been approved but remain in appeal status with the State.  To move forward with its new application, FirstHealth is withdrawing its 2009 application.

“We prefer to focus our energy and time on the 2011 application and our plans to expand the medical campus,’ said Frock.  “Approval of the 2011 FirstHealth Hoke Hospital CON application would replace our previous proposals.”

For more than two decades, FirstHealth of the Carolinas has demonstrated its commitment to caring for the residents of Hoke County.  In continuing that commitment, FirstHealth is expanding the scope of health care services at its current location to include digital mammography and extended hours on weekday evenings and Saturdays at the FirstHealth Family Care Center-Raeford.

“Where we do not need Certificate of Need approval, we will move forward with our plans to add and upgrade our services in Hoke County,” said Frock.  “Offering digital mammography and providing extended hours for primary care is a continuation of our commitment to strengthen the availability and convenience of quality health care services to Hoke County residents.”

In October 2010, FirstHealth publicly called on the Cape Fear Valley Health System to agree to drop all CON appeals and let each health system build its respective hospital without delay.  Cape Fear rejected FirstHealth’s offer. 

“While CON appeals may have delayed the immediate building and construction of a hospital in Hoke County, it has not slowed our dedication to fighting for Hoke County residents and providing them with the quality hospital services they deserve,” Frock said.

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