Construction and additions have become the norm for Northside Hospital-Forsyth, but a $51 million proposed expansion would be its largest project since the women’s center opened in 2008.
If the state’s community health department approves a certificate of need for Northside, the hospital will add 100,000 square feet, enhanced services and as many as 200 new employees.
“Our whole campus was built with growth in mind,” said Lynn Jackson, the hospital’s administrator. “The hospital is continuing to grow based on the need, and I think that’s the message.
“We’re still seeing a demand for services in a lot of different sectors of our facility.”
Hospital spokesman Russ Davis said the project will include inpatient medical/surgical facilities, short-stay and observation beds, as well as recovery, clinical and support areas. Education and training space will also be added.
Among the planned renovations: refurbishing the 10-bed intensive care unit.
The plan is to add 33 inpatient medical/surgical beds, which would bring the total bed count to 188.
“This part of the project is designed to address the Department of Community Health’s pre-defined need for these additional beds in this planning district,” Davis said.
“Some services will be enhanced with this project, but ... no new services will be added.”
In an effort to avoid duplication of expensive services and evenly distribute medical care across Georgia, state health planners weigh whether there is a legitimate need for the proposed service.
If so, they then determine if the health system making the application is best suited to fill that need.
Other medical facilities can challenge the certificate application, thereby lengthening the process.
Davis said placement of the 100,000-square-foot addition has not been determined.
It could be one multi-floor addition in a single location or wings coming off current structures.
The $51 million project isn’t the hospital’s only proposal.
Officials expect a response to a request for four new neonatal beds shortly after the women’s center’s two-year anniversary in August.
If the certificate of need is approved, the neonatal intensive care unit would have a total of eight Level II basinets.
The addition would be the first expansion of maternity or newborn services since it opened.
“The Northside Hospital-Forsyth Women’s Center has far exceeded all our expectations,” Davis said. “We estimate that we will have nearly 2,000 deliveries this year. In 2009, we saw 1,757 deliveries.”
The proposed projects come on the heels of several major changes at the hospital.
Those include the additions of cardiac angioplasty service, a second catheterization lab and two other expansion projects totaling more than 54,000 square feet.
While some businesses are struggling in the current economy, Jackson said the hospital continues to see a strong “demand for continued growth in health services.”
“Our timing is mostly driven by need,” she said. “We really have to respond to that demand and so it’s all about providing services that are needed.”