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Forsyth, Wake Forest Baptist gain conditional state OK for bed expansion projects
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Forsyth, Wake Forest Baptist gain conditional state OK for bed expansion projects

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MEDICAL CENTER

Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center (foreground) and Forsyth Medical Center (background) as seen from the top of the GMAC building. Wake Forest Baptist can add up to 48 acute-care beds that includes four burn intensive-care unit beds. The Forsyth hospital expansion adds 20 acute-care beds that involve transferring 14 from the main campus in Winston-Salem to its medical campus in Clemmons.

State health regulators have given conditional approvals for Wake Forest Baptist and Forsyth medical centers to add in-patient beds on their respective campuses.

The systems could not be immediately reached for comment on their bed expansions.

The N.C. Division of Health Service Regulation posted Wednesday that Wake Forest Baptist can add up to 48 acute-care beds that includes four burn intensive-care unit beds. The hospital is identified formally as N.C. Baptist Hospital by the division.

The Forsyth hospital expansion adds 20 acute-care beds that involve transferring 14 from the main campus in Winston-Salem to its medical campus in Clemmons.

Both approvals were granted on Dec. 23.

The Wake Forest Baptist 48-bed expansion has an estimated cost of $6.81 million and would expand the Ardmore campus to no more than 854 beds.

Wake Forest Baptist cited projected population growth, particularly individuals ages 65 and older, in the Triad and surrounding counties and adding specialty care services as the main reasons for its bed expansion application.

Renovations were expected to begin Jan. 1 and the beds available by Aug. 15, 2022. Wake Forest Baptist said that the first four beds related to the expansion went into service on Jan. 1.

The Forsyth project has an estimated $10.5 million capital investment. It will give Forsyth up to 785 acute-care beds on its main campus.

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Forsyth cited its expansion project was tied to two separate patient service changes.

The first reflects the need for more acute-care beds at the Clemmons medical campus related to joint replacement procedures at its new acute inpatient surgical and acute care services.

"Although the applicant expects a growth in joint replacement patient days due to growth and aging of the service area population, the applicant conservatively projects that patient days at NH Forsyth will be consistent with its calendar year 2019 days," according to the request.

The second patient service change is related to Forsyth adding in August 2019 a maternal-fetal program in response to Wake Forest Baptist opening a birth center on its campus in 2019.

Project renovations are expected to begin July 1, and the beds available by July 1, 2023.

A CON is required before a health care system or provider can build a facility, buy equipment or offer a surgical procedure, among other things. There are 28 health-care scenarios affected by the law, which took effect in 1978.

The primary goal is to prevent unnecessary duplication of services within a community or region as a means of controlling costs.

However, there are examples where there have been duplicate facilities, such as the community hospitals in Clemmons and Bermuda Run that are four miles apart.

The hospitals applied for the bed expansions through the 2020 State Medical Facilities Plan, which determined there was a need for 68 additional acute beds in the Forsyth service area.

Regulators said in both approvals that if the capital investment exceeds 115% of the cost estimate, the hospitals would have to file for a new certificate of need.

Appeals can be filed on both CONs through Jan. 22.

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@rcraverWSJ

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