NATCHEZ — Construction plans have been finalized and Natchez Regional Medical Center needs a final bureaucratic nod before work can begin to bring Natchez’s two hospitals together.
Hospital Chief Executive Officer Eric Robinson tells The Natchez Democrat code approval can take up to 30 days, so he expects the hospital will hear from the state during the month of April.
NRMC was granted the necessary certificate of need Thursday. Certificates of need are a state-mandated process intended to restrain health care costs and allow coordinated planning of new services and construction while reducing duplication of services.
The certificate the hospital received included approval for a total of 34,000-square feet’s worth of renovations including to:
» Optimize Emergency Department treatment areas to accommodate increased patient volumes.
» Add two new labor and delivery rooms, expand the waiting room and modernize post-partum rooms to serve families, including the addition of new patient beds, furniture for visitors and showers.
» Reopen and renovate the fourth floor including all patient rooms, nursing stations and visitor areas. Several rooms will also have new showers as well as equipment to monitor care remotely for cardiac and other patients who require those services.
The certificate allows the hospital to take the necessary steps to re-open its mothballed cardiac catheterization lab.
The hospital’s birthing services have all temporarily moved from the third floor at NRMC to Natchez Community Hospital’s campus. Robinson said the blending of the staffs at one facility has served as a good test run for the eventual consolidation at NRMC’s facility.
“The hospital is working to finalize another issue that will have to be closed out in the near future. A government memorandum has frozen the licensure of hospitals with physician ownership, and Natchez Community Hospital has a minority ownership by a group of 10 doctors.
The hospital is in the process of addressing the issue, but Robinson said he could not address the specifics.
Robinson also said the hospital has not decided what it will do with the Natchez Community campus once all of the operations have been moved to NRMC.