New Harnett hospital becomes reality

Staff writerSeptember 29, 2010 

Groundbreaking for a long-planned hospital in Harnett County is expected to take place early next year thanks to a new $38 million loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The new 50-bed hospital on U.S. 421 in Lillington is expected to employ about 100 workers when it opens, and will have about 300 employees when it's fully operational. The target date for opening the as-yet-unnamed hospital is mid-2012, said hospital spokeswoman Jennifer Franklin.

Total price tag for the new hospital, which will be the second in Harnett County, is $63 million. The hospital received the go-ahead from state regulators in 2008.

"We're bringing health care closer to our citizens in western and central Harnett County," said Franklin.

The latest government funding for the acute care hospital in Lillington was announced today by Democratic congressman Bob Etheridge, who helped secure the loan. Etheridge, a Lillington resident, also helped the as-yet-unnamed hospital obtain a $25 million USDA loan in March 2009.

"This hospital will be a lynchpin of economic development and quality health care in the region for decades to come," Etheridge said in a prepared statement.

Groundbreakings for the new hospital previously were scheduled for last October and in May, but were postponed because of delays in obtaining the necessary funding.

The new hospital will be part of the Harnett Health System, which also owns the county's other hospital: the 101-bed Betsy Johnson Regional Hospital in Dunn.

WakeMed, Wake County's largest hospital system, manages the Harnett Health System.

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