CaroMont Health Set to Invest More Than $300 Million in Gaston County
GASTONIA, NC – CaroMont Health today announced plans to invest more than $300 million in capital projects and facility improvements in Gaston County over the next five years. Projects include the addition of a critical care tower on the main campus of CaroMont Regional Medical Center in Gastonia, the construction and renovation of several medical office buildings, and the construction of a second hospital in Belmont.
“CaroMont Health has provided life-changing and life-saving medical care to the citizens of Gaston County for nearly 75 years,” said Chris Peek, President and Chief Executive Officer at CaroMont Health. “This investment is a reflection of our unwavering commitment to this community and the thousands of patients who trust us to care for them.”
The most significant financial investment in the history of the health system comes as CaroMont Health looks to offer more convenient access to advanced healthcare in areas where population totals are expected to climb.
“With nearly 250,000 patient encounters every year at CaroMont Regional Medical Center, the hospital has experienced a very steady increase in patient volume over the last several years,” said Peek. “Coupled with the projected growth of our community and the advancing age of our patient population, the need for hospital-based care continues to rise. The construction of a second hospital in Belmont will extend our clinical network to better serve communities in the eastern part of Gaston County, and the expansion of critical care services at CaroMont Regional Medical Center will firmly establish the main hospital as a central hub for advanced medical and surgical care in our region.”
The allocation of healthcare services is guided by the North Carolina State Medical Facilities Plan (SMFP), a document prepared annually at the direction of the North Carolina Department of Health & Human Services Division of Health Service Regulation and the North Carolina State Health Coordinating Council. The 2019 SMFP outlines the need for 33 additional hospital beds in Gaston County, with more expected in the 2020 plan.
In the coming months, the health system will seek to obtain the Certificate of Need (CON) required to build and open the new hospital, and will also pursue the necessary regulatory approval to reallocate and add critical care beds to the main campus.
Critical Care Expansion at CaroMont Regional Medical Center
The construction of a second patient tower on the campus of CaroMont Regional Medical will expand critical care services at the hospital, an area that already sees large patient volumes. The planned expansion, currently estimated to open as early as 2022, will offer approximately 50 additional patient rooms with a floor plan designed to maximize care delivery and patient experience.
Medical offices in Cramerton, Bessemer City, Gastonia
Also included is the construction of a 22,000-square-foot family medicine practice in Cramerton, expected to open later this year, and the opening of a new family medicine practice in Bessemer City, expected to welcome patients this summer. Still in development are plans for medical office buildings on and around the main hospital campus.
CaroMont Regional Medical Center - Belmont
While services are still being planned for CaroMont Regional Medical Center-Belmont, the facility is expected to offer an emergency department, inpatient units for patients requiring admission or observation, a labor and delivery unit, and a full complement of diagnostic services including laboratory and imaging. Pending CON approval, the hospital could open as early as 2023.
CaroMont Health has selected a site near the crossing of Highway 273 and Interstate 85 to build the new hospital. Owned by Belmont Abbey, the founder and sponsor of Belmont Abbey College, the property lies adjacent to the school’s campus. The health system will enter into a long-term agreement to lease the land and plans to support Belmont Abbey College’s future establishment of a health sciences program.
“Belmont Abbey College exemplifies the true spirit of our community – one of progress, integrity, excellence and virtue – and shares many of our core values,” said Peek. “Much like healthcare, education has the unique ability to enrich and support not only the recipient, but also all who surround them. A highly regarded institution like Belmont Abbey, focused on the advancement of others, strengthens our community. We are proud to be part of such a historic moment.”
Belmont Abbey College leadership echoed praise for the partnership.
“The monks of Belmont Abbey happily welcome this exciting opportunity for Belmont Abbey College and CaroMont Health to combine our shared values and cooperate in promoting the welfare of our Gaston County community and its future growth and prosperity," said Abbot Placid Solari, O.S.B., of the Belmont Abbey monastic community.
“Bringing together two remarkable and storied institutions, the partnership between CaroMont Health, a leading healthcare provider, and Belmont Abbey College, a leading institution of higher education, is a game changer for the region and beyond. We are excited about the opportunity to collaborate with CaroMont Health to provide the highest levels of medical care and academic excellence,” said Dr. Bill Thierfelder, president of Belmont Abbey College.
CaroMont Health Board of Directors Chairman Donnie Loftis acknowledged the historic nature of the announcement and what it means for so many in the community.
“As we embark upon a time of incredible expansion and growth for CaroMont Health, we must acknowledge the visionary leadership of so many who have come before us, those who worked tirelessly to ensure a small hospital grew into a strong and thriving health system,” said Loftis. “The next phase in CaroMont Health’s history is made possible through the guidance of the Board of Directors, the expertise of our healthcare professionals, the support of our community and the trust of our patients.”