According to WCNC, Carolinas Healthcare System has been opening new emergency rooms around Charlotte and plans to open more in the coming months. Charlotte has seen the addition of these new facilities in Steele Creek and SouthPark, and as recently as last week, in Harrisburg off of Rocky River Road.
As population size continues to grow in the Charlotte area, the need for more efficient health care and especially emergency services continues to grow. So while these facilities are within a mere fifteen minute drive of each other, the demand is still there.
What does this mean for Charlotte residents? If you are injured, you have more places to go and the commute could be even closer. Keep in mind that if you are seriously injured, you should be treated at a large hospital. Some of these new emergency room facilities, such as the facility in Harrisburg, will not be outfitted with the right tools to treat traumas.
Hopefully, with the addition of these facilities in the Charlotte area, patient care will be more efficient and focused, allowing for injuries to be treated in a timely manner and a reduction in stress for the staff involved.
Prior to being able to open these facilities, hospitals must apply and meet the criteria proving that there is a need in the area. Once approved, the Hospital is issued a Certificate of Need and allowed to go through with the process of opening the hospital. The need in Charlotte is bigger than most people expected, for example, the hospital in Kannapolis expected approximately 12,000 patients a year and ended up treating around 20,000 people.
While the need associated with opening a new hospital is good for the hospital, this influx of people and increase in injuries is not good news for those persons residing in or near the Charlotte area. More people in the area can be associated with more commuting, more congestion, and unfortunately, more traffic accidents.
Another major concern associated with the opening of these emergency hospitals includes an increase in painkiller prescriptions. In a previous post, I discussed a study detailing how the Southern states prescribe more painkillers than most other states. Specifically, in North Carolina, painkillers are killing more people each year than heroin and cocaine combined.
People are able to retrieve these painkillers either by “poly-pharmacy,” where they go to multiple pharmacies to fill their prescriptions, or “doctor shopping,” where they go to multiple prescribers to get the same prescription written. An increase in emergency facilities makes doctor shopping a more viable option for those seeking these prescriptions.
Finally, a concern lies with the training provided to the staff of these new facilities. At the larger hospitals, there are mentor programs, staff oversight, and management on sight to observe the workers. One has to wonder whether these smaller subsidiaries will be able to keep up with the standard that has been set by its predecessors.
As for now, Charlotte residents can rest easy knowing that emergency services are at their fingertips no matter where their location is and hope as time goes on that the concerns expressed above remain just that – a concern, and nothing else.
If you or someone you know has been injured, whether in an automobile accident or as a result of medical negligence, call an experienced personal injury attorney today for your free consultation.