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Wednesday, 23 June 2010 14:54

Building boom underway in medical field

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Every hospital in the MedWest Health System — which covers Haywood, Jackson and Swain counties — will see new construction in the next few years.

A one-story urgent care center, also housing minor X-ray and laboratory services, will be built in Canton within the next two years.

There is already an urgent care center on the west end of the county in Waynesville. The second urgent care center in Clyde will be shut down once the new one in Canton opens.

Haywood will also see a groundbreaking on a six-bed hospice center, paid for with grants and donations, some time next month. Construction should be complete in about a year and a half.

Plans are also in the making for a $9 million outpatient surgery on property adjacent to Haywood Regional — a joint venture between the hospital and local doctors.

Large medical office buildings are being built next to the hospitals in Sylva and Bryson City.

With several practices housed in one office building, it serves as a one-stop shop that will cut down on patients having to run from office to office.

Sylva’s building is being built by a private firm and will also house an outpatient lab and imaging. Bryson City’s will include physician’s offices, a pharmacy and rehab services.

Moving to Canton

Haywood Regional Medical Center is relocating its urgent care center to Canton to better serve residents hailing from the eastern half of the county. Urgent care centers serve patients who don’t need an emergency room but can’t wait days for an appointment.

The new urgent care center in Canton will capture patients who may have otherwise driven to Mission Hospital in Asheville or postponed care, according to MedWest CEO Mike Poore.

“Access to care has always proven to increase the overall health of the community,” said Poore.

The planned location for the urgent care center is on Champion Drive, which hasn’t seen an upgrade of its sewer system since the 1970s.

Town officials consider Champion Drive in Canton a hotspot for future development, and a sewer line upgrade is a high priority.

“Without an upgrade, we would have to place a moratorium on future development,” said Town Manager Al Matthews.

The sewer project will cost about $1.2 million, and the town is actively pursuing both state and federal grants. Matthews says the town will likely have to take out a loan to match any grants it receives.

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