Atrium, Novant say they need 600-bed field hospital, but local officials question who will pay for it

North Carolina health systems Atrium and Novant said a 600-bed field hospital is needed to address an expected surge in COVID-19 cases, but questions remain around who would pick up the tab for the facility, according to The Charlotte Observer.

In a joint April 2 letter to county officials, the CEOs of Charlotte-based Atrium and Winston-Salem-based Novant said they expect about 3,000 hospitalizations above current capacities to overwhelm current resources between mid-April and mid-May. To address this surge, the CEOs asked for the county and state to help fund a field hospital on the University of North Carolina at Charlotte campus. 

However, elected officials questioned if taxpayers should pay for the hospital rather than two of the state's largest health systems which, combined, have billions of dollars in reserves. Mecklenburg County Commissioner Pat Cotham told The Charlotte Observer it's unclear why Atrium and Novant need additional funds to build a field hospital.

In a joint statement to The Charlotte Observer, county officials said the request was "based on modeling projections showing that at the peak of COVID-19 in Mecklenburg County, the surge of patients is likely to overwhelm existing resources. The Charlotte Mecklenburg Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is in the planning process for a field hospital. There are many details that have yet to be determined ... and no formal agreements have been made. We are working hard with the healthcare systems to expedite this process."

Read the full article here.

More articles on facilities management:
Shuttered 157-bed San Francisco hospital may reopen
Massachusetts plans to convert long-term care hospitals into COVID-19 facilities
The race to boost hospital bed capacity: Updates from 5 states

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