The N.C. Division of Health Service Regulation recently gave conditional approval for New Hanover Regional Medical Center to acquire an additional CT scanner that would be located adjacent to the emergency department at the hospital’s main campus on South 17th Street.
NHRMC would have a total of four CT scanners upon project completion. The cost of the project is estimated at $1.2 million.
The NHRMC system currently includes seven separately licensed facilities with a total of nine CT scanners in New Hanover, Brunswick and Pender counties.
The proposed scanner would be located in 422 square feet of space, officials said. The area is currently used as a waiting room for patient family members at the surgical trauma intensive care unit. Emergency patients who need CT scans would still be served on an existing scanner in the hospital emergency department.
The request was made in the form of a certificate-of-need application.
“The proposed project does not involve the addition of any new health service facility beds, services or equipment for which there is a need determination in the 2017 SMFP [State Medical Facilities Plan]. Therefore, there are no [CON] need determinations applicable to this review,” according to a letter from a project analyst to NHRMC.
The 2017 State Medical Facilities Plan does not define a service area for CT scanners. In its application, NHRMC stated that the population of New Hanover County increased by 7.9 percent from 2011 to 2016 and is projected to increase by 6.5 percent between 2016 and 2021.
The primary service area includes New Brunswick, Brunswick, Pender, Columbus and Onslow counties. The population of those aged 65 and older accounted for 16.7 percent of the population in the primary service area but represented 45.2 of the total CT scans done at NHRMC for the age group for orthopedic and neurological scans, according to application information supplied by NHRMC.
The state does request NHRMC “identify the population to be served by the proposed project, and shall demonstrate the need that this population has or the services proposed” and to the extent area residents, including “underserved” groups such as low income individuals, will have access to the services proposed,” a document states.
The project timetable calls for completion of all construction and renovation work by Aug. 15, 2018; and services offered there by Oct. 1, 2018.