CLAYTON — Johnston Medical Center is one step closer to expanding its care facility to soon be able to treat patients overnight, deliver babies, and lessen the wait to be treated in the emergency room.
Last week the planning board approved plans to add a 3-story facility to the existing medical center, and add 50 in-patient beds. The 100,000 square foot project will cost about $50 million, according to Johnston Medical Center Chief Operating Officer Jackie Ring. The project is scheduled to be completed by 2015.
“Right now when somebody comes here and needs to be admitted to a hospital bed, they are transferred to Smithfield and they have to get in an ambulance,” said Ring. “This expansion will allow us to hospitalize people in Clayton.”
The expansion will also include adding a maternity ward that will be located on the first floor of the building, so that babies can be delivered in Clayton. That has not been possible yet, except during two emergency cases when babies were delivered in the emergency room, said Ring.
The new facility will also add 10 emergency room bays so more patients can be seen, and there is less of a wait.
“The ten new bays will help tremendously,” said Ring. The hospital has had to use makeshift rooms for overflow when the emergency room is busy at night. “Right now we use the same-day surgery area in the afternoon and evening because there’s overflow.”
Transportation will be easier with a helipad on site to be located near the emergency room.
Though the new facility will serve as an all-purpose hospital, some specialty services will still be offered elsewhere.
Patients will still be transported to WakeMed to be treated for a heart attack. The new facility will not have the capability to put in stents and there is not a plan for a psychiatric ward to be located in Clayton.
The new beds will be transferred from Johnston Health in Smithfield to Clayton. Smithfield, which currently has 179 acute care beds, would be left with 129 beds.
According to Ring, when the hospital opened in 2009, they intended to add in-patient beds shortly after. Financial woes during the recession held up the plans, however.
She said they hope to break ground on the project this summer, and construction is expected to take a year and a half. Patients will be served in the new facility by 2015.