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Title
WakeMed Seeks Approval of Air Ambulance, East Healthplex and 36-Bed Observation Unit
Date
06/19/2006
Article
Raleigh, N.C. (June 16, 2006) – WakeMed Health & Hospitals yesterday submitted Certificate of Need (CON) applications for an air ambulance, the WakeMed East Healthplex in Eastern Wake County and a 36-bed observation unit on the Raleigh Campus.

The air ambulance CON submission is integral to WakeMed’s trauma service. WakeMed Raleigh Campus has provided care for trauma victims since the 1980s, operates one of the busiest trauma programs in North Carolina and recently advanced to Level 1 Trauma status. WakeMed also operates the busiest inter-facility ground transport service in the state, WakeMed Mobile Critical Care Services, with 15 trucks that serve approximately 1,000 critically ill patients each month. Supplementing WakeMed’s Mobile Critical Care Services, the air ambulance will be utilized to transport trauma, cardiology, neonatal, pediatric and neurosciences patients from other parts of the region to the Raleigh Campus for specialty tertiary and critical care services.

William K. Atkinson, PhD, WakeMed president and CEO, speaking on the quality implications for the service said, “Our air ambulance will improve outcomes by more quickly transporting acutely ill patients from all corners of the county and the region to WakeMed Raleigh Campus, Wake County’s only trauma center. It is proven that the faster these patients receive care, the better the outcomes.”

The WakeMed East Healthplex is proposed for the Eagle Rock and US 64 interchange, which is located approximately 10 miles from WakeMed Raleigh Campus and 18 miles from WakeMed North Healthplex. The proposed facility includes a CT scanner, ultrasound, mammography, general radiology, fluoroscopy, laboratory services and a 24-hour free-standing emergency department.

“There is a need to expand services to Eastern Wake County in response to the quick pace of growth and the development of several planned communities in that area,” commented Stan Taylor, WakeMed vice president Corporate Planning and Managed Care. “The East Healthplex will be a hub for future services in this area of the county and will be modeled after the successful WakeMed North Healthplex located in North Raleigh.

A CON was also submitted for a 36-bed observation unit at WakeMed Raleigh Campus to increase Emergency Services capacity and throughput. If approved, the new observation unit will be constructed on the first floor of the hospital supplanting existing administrative offices. These administrative staff will be relocated to an offsite location convenient to the hospital. Ideally, the observation unit will be operational prior to the peak census periods for 2007.