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Vidant Chowan Hospital to expand outpatient services

April 11, 2012 posted by Megan Booth-Mills

EDENTON - To allow for the growing demand for outpatient services at Vidant Chowan Hospital, leaders have made the difficult but necessary decision to discontinue its skilled nursing facility (SNF) services.
In recent meetings with its directors council, managers and staff, leadership at Vidant Chowan Hospital discussed expansion of much-needed outpatient services in health care, such as rehabilitation services, outpatient specialty clinic and behavioral health services.
Jeffrey N. Sackrison, Vidant Chowan Hospital president, said there is currently unmet need in the community for rehabilitation services, behavioral health and outpatient specialty clinic services, as well as potential for future growth.
“The decision to discontinue SNF services was not taken lightly,” Sackrison said. “We evaluated many service lines and considered multiple factors, including community need, availability of the service in the community, the need to offer the service in-house, and finally financial performance. The Vidant Chowan Skilled Nursing Facility has provided high-quality, compassionate services to the community for over 50 years. These services, however, are available elsewhere in the community, and we see a growing need for outpatient services that we are not equipped to meet with our current structure.”
Sackrison also noted that Vidant Chowan is working to place as many employees in jobs with the hospital and the health system as possible, as well as coordinating with patients and families to provide appropriate placement for the patients.
He said this growth will better meet the health needs of the community while helping ensure the continued success of the hospital.
“All the news you hear on health care is about moving care from inpatient to outpatient settings, from high-cost settings to low-cost settings,” said Anne-Marie Knighton, Directors Council chairperson. “We have a gem of a hospital in our community, and we have an obligation to ensure the necessary inpatient and outpatient services are always available to our residents.”
Dr. William Hope IV, Vidant Chowan chief-of-staff and directors council member, concurred.
“The future of our hospital is in providing enhanced access to outpatient and inpatient services that provide an exceptional experience and contribute to optimal outcomes for our patients,” Hope said. “This decision is very difficult, but is the right decision to ensure our community always has access to quality hospital services, close to home.” 
The outpatient expansion plans will provide expanded space for several service lines. Outpatient specialty clinic offers nine clinics such as oncology/chemotherapy, pulmonology and nephrology to name a few. The department currently occupies space on the first floor and shares waiting and registration areas with the emergency department. This expansion will increase the number of exam and treatment rooms, as well as allow for dedicated registration and waiting space for this department. Rehabilitation Services will also be able to increase the number of treatment rooms, size of the gymnasium and potentially add new therapeutic services.
Behavioral health is currently located in several rooms on the second floor of the hospital. Behavioral health will move into the community services building, creating easier physical access to the service, increasing the service capacity to accommodate larger groups, and providing a more private and pleasant environment for patients.
Each of these transitions will have a positive impact on the patient experience and increase access to these important services, Sackrison said. Further analysis and recommendations will be developed regarding the use of SNF and other vacated spaces.
Sackrison said the ultimate goal is to ensure consistent access to inpatient and outpatient services that provide exceptional experiences and optimal outcomes for patients to support healthier communities.
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