Monday, July 22, 2024

UNC Health plans to build $2 billion children’s hospital

UNC Health announced plans Wednesday to build a $2 billion-plus children’s hospital in the Triangle area within the next decade that will employ thousands of workers.

The announcement comes after state lawmakers included $320 million for the project in its budget passed last week.

“This is a monumental partnership for our state’s healthcare future,” said Dr. Wesley Burks, CEO of UNC Health and dean of the UNC School of Medicine, in a statement. “The state’s initial investment of $320 million in a new flagship children’s hospital demonstrates state leaders’ dedication to providing innovative healthcare solutions for children and families across North Carolina.”

UNC Health says this hospital will be the first of its kind in North Carolina, providing the care needed for children without having to leave the state. It will be a facility comparable in clinical and academic scale to any of the top children’s hospitals in the country, according to UNC Health.

A child and adolescent psychiatric hospital, including at least 100 beds, would be in the children’s hospital. The size and scope of the hospital is still to be determined, but UNC Health expects it to have hundreds of beds.

Eventually, the hospital would employ more than 3,000 people, according to UNC Health. The new hospital would be separate from a new behavioral health hospital for children and adolescents that UNC Health and the state plan to open later this year in Butner.

UNC Health will now look for a location of between 50 and 75 acres to build the hospital in the Triangle region. UNC Health will need support from “all corners of North Carolina” as it expects to raise $1 billion through corporate philanthropy, foundations and individual donors. UNC Health will also use some money from capital reserves.

UNC Health has been looking at building a new children’s hospital for several years and those discussions intensified with state leaders during this year’s budget negotiations.

“We are thrilled that state leaders are investing in a North Carolina Children’s Hospital, which will expand access to critical healthcare for all children and families across the state,” said Dr. Stephanie Duggins Davis, physician-in-chief at UNC Children’s. “These investments will transform the care of children across the state, ensure a healthier future for North Carolina’s children and shape the future of behavioral healthcare for all children by providing the highest level of comprehensive care and improving health outcomes for future generations.”

UNC Health opened its current freestanding Children’s Hospital in 2001 and it now has almost 350 physicians connected with the UNC School of Medicine. They are supported by more than 1,800 clinical and ancillary staff.

UNC Health is a state entity and an affiliated enterprise of the University of North Carolina system, comprised of 15 hospitals, 19 hospital campuses and more than 900 clinics along with the clinical patient care programs of the UNC School of Medicine.

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