Carilion Clinic CEO on getting back to building, depression study

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Nancy Howell Agee is CEO of Carilion Clinic, a $2.3 billion nonprofit health system headquartered in Roanoke, Va. The health system, which serves over 1 million people in Virginia and West Virginia, includes seven hospitals, an academic medical center and 1,000 physicians.

Though the health system's Roanoke Memorial Hospital was forced to pause its $500 million expansion plans due to the pandemic, Ms. Agee said those plans are back in action. 

The hospital's Crystal Spring Tower will include a larger emergency department than its predecessor and a consolidation of its nationally ranked heart and cardiovascular programs. 

"We're doing this with flexible space," she told Becker's July 6. "When you're building a building, you're looking at 30 years from now, so what's healthcare going to look like? So we're using augmented intelligence and some predictive analytics and machine learning and designing in implementing the building. So it's right back on target."

Carilion is also planning to build a new behavioral health hospital.

"We have five stories of behavioral health patient services, but it's an old building. And so we've talked about whether we renovate or build new, and we really feel we need a new facility," she said.

It's a fitting endeavor. Carilion is the only Virginia health system to participate in a nationwide depression clinical trial. The trial could make Vagus Nerve Stimulation a more widely available treatment option for those struggling with the mood disorder, according to The Roanoke Star.

"We have a very committed, active department of psychiatry and mental health, and our chair is passionate about this issue, and it was a concern of ours well before COVID, but of course COVID accelerated it," she said. "A lot of us are leading the way to look at this issue."

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