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Proposal Expands Emergency, Behavioral Health Care at Duke Regional Hospital

Building project seeks to enhance and centralize behavioral health care


Duke Health News Duke Health News

DURHAM, N.C. - A planned $102.4 million expansion at Duke Regional Hospital would update and enlarge the emergency department, plus add separate emergency, outpatient and inpatient space for a centralized behavioral health center.

The proposed building project, which would be completed in three years, would move 19 psychiatric beds from Duke University Hospital to Duke Regional to consolidate services at the single location. 

Because it moves beds to Duke Regional, that component of the plan requires approval through the state's Certificate of Need process; an application will be submitted later this spring. If approved, the new behavioral health addition would have a total of 42 private inpatient rooms.

Additionally, a separate behavioral health emergency room would have 18 private rooms specifically designed to meet the short-term needs of patients undergoing psychiatric crises. Expanded clinical space at the site would include the electroconvulsive therapy suite and the Duke Psychiatry Outpatient Clinic that are currently at Duke University Hospital, providing 30 outpatient clinic rooms. 

The behavioral health addition is designed to improve access and to better coordinate care by having emergency, inpatient and outpatient services in a single location. Care will also be enhanced with a modern, therapeutic environment designed to meet behavioral health patients' specific needs. 

"The project demonstrates that we as a hospital and health system value behavioral health care in this community, and we want to provide the care our patients deserve in an environment that has been designed to meet their specific needs," said Katie Galbraith, president of Duke Regional Hospital.
On the medical side, the renovated emergency department would have 13 more treatment rooms, to 49 from 36, and 12 private observation rooms, up from six.  

"Our emergency department was built for 25,000 to 35,000 patient-visits a year, and we are seeing twice that - as many as 64,000 a year," Galbraith said. "This project will not only improve operational efficiency at Duke Regional, it will enhance the health system's ability to meet future demands for these services throughout our community."

The project has received approvals from the Durham County Hospital Corporation Board of Trustees. Renovations to the current medical emergency department are slated to begin this fall, with a planned opening in January 2021. If the move of inpatient behavioral health beds is approved by the state, groundbreaking on the new behavioral health addition is slated for March 2019, with an opening planned for March 2021.

The behavioral health addition would include a two-story building connected to Duke Regional's current emergency department. Outpatient space would cover about 50,000 square feet and occupy the ground floor; inpatient space would be upstairs, with 45,500 square feet. Secure outdoor courtyards and an indoor corridor would connect the new and existing buildings. 

"The approved expansion for the new Behavioral Health Center at Duke Regional Hospital provides an incredible opportunity to enhance patient care, improve teaching opportunities and meet the needs of our community," said Moira Rynn, M.D., chair of Duke's Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. "As a physician dedicated to the care of behavioral health patients, I appreciate the investment being made by the Duke Health System to ensure that we continue to provide outstanding care to our patients and their families."

Project Features

o    Improved operational efficiency in both Duke Regional and Duke University hospitals' emergency departments
o    Enhanced ability to meet market demands for both emergency and outpatient behavioral health services
o    Strengthened inpatient behavioral health patient care environment with a separate, up-to-date facility and private rooms
o    Streamlined access to behavioral health services and increased inpatient capacity

Expansion by the Numbers

"    Medical Emergency Department rooms: Proposed 49; currently 36
"    Observation rooms: Proposed 12, currently 6
"    Behavioral Health Emergency Department rooms: Proposed 18; currently none
"    Behavioral Health outpatient clinic rooms: Proposed 30, with 19 relocating from Duke University Hospital campus; currently none
"    Behavioral Health inpatient beds: Proposed 42, with 19 relocating from Duke University Hospital; currently 23

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