Sunday, March 26, 2023

NHRMC to close midtown Orthopedic Hospital, spend $210 million to expand Scotts Hill campus

New Hanover Regional Medical Center's midtown Orthopedic Hospital will close, redirected resources to a new and expanded campus in northern New Hanover County. (Port City Daily photo/Staff)
New Hanover Regional Medical Center’s midtown Orthopedic Hospital will close, redirected resources to a new and expanded campus in northern New Hanover County. (Port City Daily photo/Staff)

NEW HANOVER COUNTY — New Hanover Regional Medical Center (NHRMC) has submitted plans to state regulators, seeking to build a new hospital in the fast-growing northern New Hanover County area.

The $210 million project will connect to the system’s standing Scotts Hill emergency department, adding a two-story addition.

Related: Commissioners approve historic vote, selling NHRMC to Novant Health in billion-dollar deal

Planned to open in 2024, the new Scotts Hill hospital would create 490 new jobs, according to NHRMC’s state filings. Some of these positions may be filled by current midtown staff, but a majority will likely be entirely new hires.

As first reported by the Greater Wilmington Business Journal, the filings detail the hospital’s long-held plans to expand in northern New Hanover County and to close its midtown Orthopedic Hospital on Wrightsville Avenue.

The 75-bed midtown facility specializes in orthopedics but also offers full-service emergency, imaging, and diagnostic services. Thirty of the beds will be shifted to the new Scotts Hill hospital, pending approval; the hospital already obtained state approval in May to shift the remaining 45 beds to its main campus.

Now, NHRMC is seeking the state’s go-ahead to add 36 new beds, bringing the Scotts Hill hospital campus’ total to 66.

As part of the shift, NHRMC will move half of its current orthopedic volume to its main campus and the other half to Scotts Hill.

The hospital system is shifting resources north of the county to alleviate overcrowding and stress on its main campus. “NHRMC’s bed capacity on the main 17th Street campus is limited by high occupancy rates, and the hospital is crowded and highly congested,” the September acute care bed application states.

The hospital plans to redirect low-risk patient volume away from its main campus to the new Scotts Hill location, designed to cater to elderly and rural patients “who may find the vast, sprawling NHRMC main campus, in congested downtown Wilmington, to be intimidating and overwhelming,” according to the application.

For the first few years of operation, NHRMC anticipates earning $161 million in revenues, spending $153 million in operating costs, and netting about $7 million in profits annually at the new Scotts Hill facility.

NHRMC Chief Operating Officer Andre Boyd said in a statement the county’s growth prompted the hospital to expand in Scotts Hill.

“The growth and aging of the New Hanover County population is driving the need for additional hospital services. The Scotts Hill hospital would offer care closer to home to all in the busy U.S. 17 corridor. These plans are exciting because we know that facilities like these will help us better care for our growing community long into the future. Our partnership with Novant Health, which is under regulatory review, will support these kinds of investments in improving access to healthcare. Novant Health has committed to investing more than $3 billion in growing and advancing NHRMC’s services in the area,” Boyd said.

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