Availability of high-quality health care for relocating companies and their employees is a key draw for Craven County. Not only that, but the region’s health care sector continues to grow to meet the needs of the community. CarolinaEast Health System and its 350-bed flagship medical center in New Bern, for example, offer top-rated treatment in a number of specialty areas, most notably cardiology, oncology and women’s health. In February 2016, CarolinaEast broke ground on a new three-story tower that will be home to a new nursing unit, a new women’s and children’s health pavilion, clinical laboratory and administrative offices.
“This new space will open up existing space for extensive renovation. Once this expansion and renovation project is complete, in addition to the tower, our emergency department will double in size. We will have additional cardiac catheterization labs and two new hybrid operating rooms,” says Megan McGarvey, director of public relations at CarolinaEast Health System. “This is the largest expansion and renovation in our 53-year history.”
Over the past year, CarolinaEast has racked up accolades for quality of care. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services named CarolinaEast a Five Star Hospital in the newly developed star classification system. CarolinaEast is one of only four hospitals in North Carolina – the only hospital east of I-95 – to be awarded five stars. For the third year in a row, CarolinaEast’s Cardiovascular Center of Excellence was named one of America’s 50 Best Hospitals for Cardiac Surgery by Healthgrades. CarolinaEast has received several awards from Women’s Choice for patient safety, patient experience, heart care and orthopedics, and Business North Carolina named it one of the state’s top five hospitals.
“It is our people that make our quality and our successes possible," McGarvey says.“We have nearly 300 physicians in our community who partner with compassionate, skilled medical professionals and support staff to achieve our successes. Good doctors attract good doctors. Without our people, we are just big buildings with expensive equipment.”
The health system is committed, whenever possible, to using local vendors, suppliers and support services. CarolinaEast is the largest employer in New Bern and second largest in Craven County, with a payroll in 2015 of $162.5 million. "That is a lot of groceries, cars, clothes, homes, etc. purchased throughout our region," McGarvey says. "By providing the advanced services we do, at the quality level we do, is very attractive to business and industry looking to establish in Craven County. Knowing their employees will get the health care they need without having to travel can be a deciding factor.”
Quality Care Close to Home
Coastal Carolina Health Care (CCHC), a physician-owned, multi-specialty group practice based in New Bern, offers a wide range of services, including family medicine, internal medicine, cardiology, neurology, sleep medicine, urgent care, oncology, hematology, gastroenterology, pulmonology and critical care. Stephen Nuckolls, Coastal Carolina Health Care CEO, says CCHC has implemented several systems to help improve the quality of care it provides, putting it in the top quintile of health systems nationwide as measured by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for aggregate quality and at the top of rankings for some measures. Like CarolinaEast, CCHC plays a pivotal role in the region’s economic growth and stability in several ways.
"First, we work to recruit excellent physicians specializing in many fields that are not available in many other parts of the region. This helps improve our community’s economic base by reducing migration of these services to the larger academic centers in the triangle and elsewhere,” Nuckolls says. “We have also implemented systems to help reduce the overall cost of care for our patients while still maintaining quality that ranks our group in the top quintile when compared to other large health systems around the country.”