Nationally renowned health-care providers throughout Eastern North Carolina are finding creative ways to grow even stronger – and the timing couldn’t be better. The signs of vitality are evident in new and enhanced partnerships between hospitals and academic institutions, in facility expansions, and the constant stream of innovation that keeps raising the level of high-quality care available to the region’s fast-growing population. Take Lenoir Memorial Hospital (LMH), for example. The 261-bed, not-for-profit community medical center, which recently agreed to affiliate with Novant Health in a management partnership, offers a full menu of services, but it is becoming known for its stroke care. With a $282,898 grant from The Duke Endowment, LMH opened Lenoir Neurology in 2014 and welcomed Dr. Manasi Gahlot as the stroke program’s medical director. Aimed at reducing the relatively high death and disability rates from patients suffering strokes in Eastern North Carolina, the program is anchored in rapid recognition, reducing the interval between a stroke event and treatment, and providing proactive community education.
“The prevalence of strokes is a critical health issue, and we are committed to working with our partners in the community to decrease the risk of death and disability from strokes,” says Gary Black, president and CEO of Lenoir Memorial Hospital.
Cancer, Cardiology and Collaboration
A commitment to tackle critical health challenges finds expression in many other providers as well. The region’s flagship health-care provider is Vidant Health, a not-for-profit system with a 29-county footprint that includes eight hospitals, physician practices, home health, hospice, wellness centers and more. Vidant Health is nationally recognized for its innovative, high-performing facilities and broad range of services. The system recently developed a cancer care-navigation model that provides holistic care for patients, and its new space at the Heart Institute provides collaborative medical research and robotics surgery training for physicians from around the world. The system also continues to add specialty services at its satellite hospitals in the northeastern part of the state. One sign of Vidant Health’s strength and community commitment is its longstanding association with East Carolina University’s Brody School of Medicine. Vidant Health supports Brody’s groundbreaking research and training, while top-ranked Brody produces many of the region’s primary-care physicians. Vidant Medical Center in Greenville serves as the affiliated teaching hospital for Brody students and residents.
“The Brody School of Medicine and Vidant Health have operated as a successful public-private partnership for more than 40 years," says Paul R.G. Cunningham, MD, FACS, the school’s dean and senior associate vice chancellor for medical affairs. "We share a commitment to providing quality health care, creating jobs, strengthening the economy and improving quality of life for citizens in Eastern North Carolina."
Growing With the Patient Population
As the region grows and welcomes new residents, health-care providers are adjusting to the boom.
Other enhancements by area hospitals include:
- Carteret General Hospital’s $53 million expansion to double the size of its coastal facility and expand specialty care.
- Plans to transform Jacksonville's Onslow County Memorial Hospital into regional health-care hub as part of a new strategic partnership with Vidant Health and CarolinaEast.
- The addition of leading-edge molecular lab testing equipment and advances to electronic medical technology at Nash Health Care in Rocky Mount.
- A partnership between CarolinaEast Medical Center and UNC to bring state-of-the-art cancer care to the hospital's patient population.
- The addition of robotic surgery and expansions to specialty care at Sentara Albemarle Medical Center in Elizabeth City.
Caring for Communities, Veterans
Eastern North Carolina residents also benefit from a strong network of community hospitals, clinics and physician practices located throughout the region. Acute-care options include Washington County Hospital in Plymouth, Martin General Hospital in Williamston and Halifax Regional Medical Center in Roanoke Rapids. Military veterans enjoy access to care through the Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune and the VA Health Care Center in Greenville. The Greenville center opened in January 2014 and offers primary care, specialty services and mental-health treatment, operating as a satellite of Durham Veterans Affairs Medical Center while relying on other advanced medical care providers in Greenville.