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Carolinas HealthCare reveals nearly $1 billion investment strategy for 2018

The health system will modernize existing facilities, expand others, build a new urgent care center and purchase medical equipment.

Jeff Lagasse, Associate Editor

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With less than a week left in the year, hospitals and health systems are looking ahead to 2018.

For Carolinas HealthCare, that means $971 million in capital investments. According to the Charlotte Business Journal, this translates into 9.5 percent of its projected net operating revenue for the year.

[Also: Carolinas HealthCare, UNC Health Care reveal intent to merge]

Many of those millions will be poured into the system's facilities in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Levine Cancer Institute is slated to receive $130 million, Carolinas HealthCare NorthEast will be modernized to the tune of $115 million, and a freestanding emergency department in Steele Creek will be expanded. The system will also add an urgent care center.

Much of the rest of the funds will be used for medical equipment and projects in other markets.

[Also: Carolinas Healthcare to pay $6.5 million to settle upcoding allegations related to lab tests]

The $971 million slated for investment marks an increase over the past year, during which Carolinas earmarked about $580 million for capital investments, translating to about 5.5 percent of its net operating revenue through the end of September.

Carolinas is also in talks with UNC Health Care to develop a joint-operating nonprofit, but so far a UNC special committee has already missed its first deadline to review whether the partnership would benefit the people of North Carolina, and as of December 22 the two systems had not yet submitted a proposed business agreement for the committee's review.

Proposed in August, the partnership would create one of the nation's largest healthcare systems, with about 90,000 employees spanning more than 50 hospitals. The joint company would be overseen by an independent board of directors nominated by the two systems.

Business is up at Carolinas in 2017. The first nine months saw patient visits increase 4.6 percent, and inpatient and observation stays in acute care hospitals ws up 1.2 percent. The system's net operating revenue was $7.4 billion, a 5.3 increase from 2016.

Twitter: @JELagasse
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