We wish business was as good across Robeson County as it is at Southeastern Regional Medical Center.
The hospital, which is faced with meeting the medical needs of this county and the surrounding area’s aging population, is taking a large step down that road with the trustees’ recent approval of a 60,000-square-foot ambulatory center on Dawn Drive, just west of Interstate 95. The center, which is expected to cost $19.5 million, will be the latest off-campus addition for SRMC, which long ago busted out from its land-locked location in the Tanglewood community of Lumberton to parts here and there.
The focus of the facility will be a 13,000-square-foot ambulatory center, where minor surgeries, those that don’t require an overnight stay, can be performed. The surgical unit is expected to relieve stress at the main hospital, where procedures must be prioritized, and it will have much more parking for patients and their friends and family. Hospital officials say reduced overhead could also drive down the cost of routine procedures.
In addition to the surgical unit, the center will have an orthopedic center, a gastroenterology center, pre-admission testing for outpatient procedures, an anesthesia and pain management center, and outpatient rehabilitation center, all services that are currently offered by the center, but scattered in off-campus facilities.
There also will be retail space at the facility, most likely a restaurant.
Although the center is not expected to produce a significant number of jobs, someone has to build and eventually maintain it. A lot of that work we are sure will remain local.
The center will make SRMC, which employs about 2,2oo people and has an annual payroll of about $110 million, more attractive to physicians considering locating here, especially those who would work at the facility. The competition is fierce, and any amenity that can be offered by an impoverished and unhealthy county in Southeastern North Carolina is needed.
Hospital officials say if surgical procedures produce sufficient demand, more doctors might be recruited. Each one adds about $500,000 a year to the local community, and creates two to five new jobs for support personnel.
But the most important benefit of the facility is it will enhance health care for patients — and provide that with additional convenience.
SRMC continues its path of getting bigger and better.