Novant's Franklin Medical Center to close Friday

After a seven-year effort to increase patient volumes at Franklin Medical Center, Winston-Salem, N.C.-based Novant Health will close the doors of the hospital in Louisburg, N.C., Friday.

Last year, Novant decreased the number of beds in the hospital from 85 to 15 after struggling with declining patient volumes and a competitive market, according to the Triad Business Journal.

Novant has played a role operating the hospital since partnering with Health Management Associates in 2008. A Novant spokesperson said the system's purchase of Franklin Medical Center was due to its inclusion in the joint venture with HMA that included shared ownership of multiple facilities.

"It was never a single strategy to aggressively pursue a Triangle presence," the spokeswoman said by email. "Instead, we were working with partners who requested our help in the market."

In 2008, Novant also applied for state approval to build a 50-bed community hospital in Holly Springs, N.C. The spokesperson said the health system didn't proactively seek entry into the Triangle region, but instead targeted Holly Springs after being approached by community leaders.

Between Franklin Medical Center and the Holly Springs hospital, Novant would have been poised to compete with top health systems in the Triangle region market, such as Chapel Hill-based UNC Health Care, Wake County, N.C.-based WakeMed and Durham, N.C.-based Duke University Health System. However, Novant's pursuit of the Holly Springs hospital was unsuccessful — initial approvals from the state were overturned and a final state approval was denied. Instead, Raleigh, N.C.-based Rex Healthcare plans to build the hospital. 

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