Atrium Health details its latest expansion plan for the Charlotte area

Atrium Health expands outside the Carolinas

Some experts fear healthcare costs could go up as competition diminishes with an ever-expanding Atrium Health,
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Some experts fear healthcare costs could go up as competition diminishes with an ever-expanding Atrium Health,

Atrium Health is seeking approval for an $18 million emergency department in the Charlotte area, the latest expansion for the Charlotte-based hospital system, the state Department of Health and Human Services said on Thursday.

The nonprofit hospital system plans for the Mountain Island department to be a satellite of its University City hospital, according to DHHS. Before Atrium can open the department, it must obtain what is known as a certificate of need from DHHS.

If the certificate is granted, the project is expected to be completed in January 2021, DHHS said.

Applications for the department describe it as construction proposed for 3548 Mount Holly-Huntersville Road in Charlotte, according to DHHS. The project’s total square footage is expected to be 12,500, including a three-bay triage area and six emergency department rooms, DHHS said.

In a statement, Atrium said the new project reflects its commitment to expand care as the Charlotte region grows.

The plans follow other expansion announcements that Charlotte’s largest hospital system has made in recent months.

In October, Atrium unveiled plans to build a $116 million hospital and $13.5 million medical office in western Union County, a project it estimated to be completed in early 2022. DHHS did not immediately respond to a question on Thursday about the status of that project.

Across the metro area, Atrium already owns 11 hospitals, in addition to Levine Children’s Hospital and its behavioral health hospitals. It also manages or has affiliations with hospitals across the Carolinas.

In June, Atrium announced plans to spend more than $1 billion across it facilities in the Charlotte area and beyond, a project the system said at the time represented the largest capital investment in its history.

A public hearing for the Mountain Island project is scheduled for 10 a.m. April 18 in Room 280 of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center at 600 E. Fourth St., DHHS said.

Written comments to DHHS on the project must be submitted by 5:30 p.m. April 1.

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Deon Roberts has covered Charlotte’s financial services industry for The Charlotte Observer since 2013. His beat includes Bank of America and Wells Fargo. He attended Loyola University in New Orleans and is a native of Lafitte, La.