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Long-term Extension of Duke/Durham Regional Hospital Lease Approved

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The Durham County Board of Commissioners has approved an amendment to the lease between the Durham County Hospital Corporation (DCHC) and Duke University Health System (DUHS) for Durham Regional Hospital that calls for an extension of the original 1998 lease term from 20 years to an annually renewable 40-year term. This amendment takes effect January 1, 2009, and extends the horizon of Duke's commitment to the citizens of Durham County for the foreseeable future.

"This lease amendment is important to Durham for many reasons," said Ellen Reckhow, chair of the Durham County Board of Commissioners. "It not only ensures the long term success of Durham Regional as a leading community hospital, but also reflects a commitment and conviction by the County and DUHS to increase the support and funding of Lincoln Community Health Center and Durham County Emergency Medical Services."

"DUHS is committed to the long-term health of the citizens of Durham and this lease amendment will enable us to provide them the very best in health services well into the future," said Victor J. Dzau, MD, chancellor for health affairs and CEO, Duke University Health System. "I want to especially commend the county commissioners for their forward-thinking action on behalf of the citizens of Durham County and its surrounding communities. Over the past 10 years, working closely with DCHC, we have invested nearly $80 million in capital improvements to Durham Regional, and as part of the lease agreement have made very significant contributions to Lincoln Community Health Center and Durham County Emergency Medical Services."

Recent capital investments in Durham Regional Hospital have supported the creation of a state-of-the-art, 22-bed intensive care unit that opened in August, and a hospital-based outpatient clinic to house the Duke Center for Metabolic & Weight Loss Surgery, which opens this week. In the next year, or so, there are planned investments of many millions of dollars to replace a cardiac catheterization lab, renovate triage rooms for the hospital's obstetrics unit, upgrade diagnostic imaging equipment, and install a new pharmacy supply system. Other longer-range capital projects include renovating the women's services unit and expanding and renovating the Emergency Department.

The lease amendment paves the way for longer-term investments by DUHS with the goal of establishing Durham Regional Hospital as the premier community hospital in North Carolina.

The lease extension announcement comes one week after Durham Regional Hospital announced it had achieved Magnet designation for excellence in nursing by the American Nurse's Credentialing Center (ANCC). Only five percent of the nation's hospitals have earned Magnet designation which is intended to recognize hospitals that provide the highest level of nursing care.

The lease payments from DUHS to the County include funds that the County has agreed to designate for support of Lincoln Community Health Center (LCHC) and Durham County Emergency Medical Services (EMS). Terms of the lease extension will result in increased lease payments to support LCHC and Durham County EMS that are adjusted annually for inflation over the life of the lease. This support will be critically important to Lincoln's ongoing mission of providing health care services to medically underserved populations in Durham.

"We are committed to strategically growing programs that serve the citizens of Durham County both now and over the long-term," Dzau said. "Our goal is to see Durham Regional Hospital become recognized widely as a model for innovative services and technology in a community hospital setting that brings together the best in community-based physicians and clinical faculty from a renowned academic medical center."

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