Bakersville resident Stephanie Pitman drives two and a half hours to Novant Health Hemby Children’s Hospital in Charlotte to access specialized care for her son. Nine-year-old Gabe – an avid music lover and horse rider – has cerebral palsy and short bowel syndrome, among other things. He has had about 15 surgeries and now visits the hospital at least once a year.
“Gabe has some pretty specific medical issues. Because we have doctors, surgeons and specialists who are familiar with those specific needs, we just couldn’t find it that close to home,” Pitman said.
Charlotte and the surrounding areas need more space and providers for specialized pediatric care, said Dr. L. Eugene Daugherty, medical director of Novant’s Hemby Children’s Hospital and the pediatric intensive care unit.
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Daugherty said a rapidly growing population is driving the need for comprehensive pediatric care and special facilities in the Charlotte area. Patients and their families also need more care options, he said.
The city’s largest pediatric centers are Hemby, a 76-bed hospital at the Presbyterian Medical Center that has served 95 counties in the Carolinas, and Atrium Health’s Levine Children’s Hospital, a national top 50 hospital with 236 beds on the Carolinas campus. Medical Center.
“If you took either Atrium and its pediatric support or Novant and its support and eliminated just one, this city wouldn’t be able to adequately care for pediatric patients,” Daugherty said.
In response, Novant has expanded specialty pediatric care here, investing approximately $38 million annually. It continues to grow with 16 subspecialties: plans to expand in Hemby’s neonatal intensive care unit, take advantage of partnerships to advance cancer care, and expand neurology capabilities. Novant also invests in its clinical network to support specialized care.
Charlotte has now become Novant’s hub for pediatric services, vastly surpassing the Winston-Salem headquarters market in investments and specialties. The health system has no plans to slow down.
Read the full story here for a behind-the-scenes look at health system concerns.
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