Carolinas HealthCare System recently won state approval to build two new emergency departments in south Charlotte that will provide services 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
One will be in SouthPark at CMC-Morrocroft, which has physicians offices, a retail pharmacy and an urgency care center across from Phillips Place.
The other will be on Providence Road, just south of I-485.
Both will admit patients in early 2014.
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The goal of the healthcare pavilions is to offer sophisticated emergency care to residents in one of the county's fastest growing areas, said Michael Tarwater, CEO of CHS.
CHS already operates free-standing emergency departments in Steele Creek, Waxhaw and Kannapolis, and another is opening at CMC-Huntersville on April 16.
The CMC-Morrocroft emergency department, an estimated $28 million investment, will be built between the CMC-Morrocroft parking garage and Fairview Road. It will include about 30,000 square feet of new construction and have 14 emergency rooms.
The CMC-Providence emergency department will be 26,500 square feet with 10 emergency treatment rooms, with an estimated $27.7 million price tag.
Each if the facilities will have two observation rooms for patients who need further evaluation, labs and a pharmacy, as well as imaging services, such as CT scans and ultrasounds.
The emergency department in Steele Creek has far exceeded expectations, said CMC-Pineville President Chris Hummer.
That facility averages more than 60 patients a day - nearly twice the original projections.
Even in a slow-to-recover economy, medicine and health care are always going to be community needs, Hummer said.
Hummer stands by CHS's plans to bring care to the people, rather than continue drawing people from everywhere to the uptown hospitals.
CMC-Pineville has been undergoing major renovations to accommodate the growing population in south Mecklenburg.
The traditional model would have people coming to the (main) hospital for all their needs, said Hummer. "And while there are a lot of resources at the hospital, 94 percent of every need that someone shows up for could be dealt with right then and there (at a free-standing department)."
The convenience factor also speaks to the level of care patients are able to get. If they have to fight traffic on I-485 to get uptown and then wait for hours in an overcrowded emergency room, their condition could worsen more quickly. "As an organization," Hummer added, "we're trying our best to move services and things to less costly, more accessible settings."