Maria Parham officials and staff show off the facility's resources
LOUISBURG -- Maria Parham Franklin has been open for about four months, seeing patient visits above their projections.
That prompted them to open a multi-specialty clinic that offers primary care seven days a week.
And, they're on schedule to build and open a 20-bed behavioral health unit.
Those updates were part of the message that Maria Parham Health Chief Executive Officer Bert Beard delivered to local officials and representatives of a philanthropic foundation who took a tour of the facility last week.
Beard urged those in attendance to trumpet the need to support local health care.
"... We encourage you to tell people to get their health care locally," said, CEO of Maria Parham Health, which partnered with Duke Lifepoint to bring back an emergency room, diagnostic services and a behavioral health unit after Novant Health abruptly shut down the hospital in October of 2015. Maria Parham Franklin opened its services in October.
"If you don't [support local health care], it might not always hang around," Beard said. "We're trying to bring it back.
"That's basically the message at the end of the day: You've got to support it locally if you want it to stay.
"We're excited about that."
When Maria Parham Franklin opened, executives budgeted for about 27 visits a day, Beard said.
They're at about 37 visits per day. On a recent Monday, they had 57 visits.
And, they're getting them through fairly quickly, hospital officials said. Louisburg Town Administrator Jonathan Franklin, who joined the tour, said people are taking notice.
"In our office, everyone that calls says: 'tell those guys thank you, it's a great experience,'" Franklin relayed to Beard. "It's all been positive."
"We want that to be the dominant narrative," Beard said. "We know running [emergency rooms] we're going to get some people that are unsatisfied with the time, the wait; it's never fast enough, but we're offering good quality care here," he said. "We are saving lives."
The volume that the emergency room experiences, Beard said, has prompted Maria Parham to open a multi-specialty clinic in the medical office building adjacent to Maria Parham Franklin on Bickett Boulevard.
It provides a rotation of specialty care that currently includes primary care, general surgery, psychiatry, nephrology and orthopedics.
It also offers primary care, seven days a week.
"We're hoping that will fill up," Beard said.
The emergency room, diagnostic services and the geriatric behavioral health services were part of Phase One for Maria Parham, funded by revenue generated by the sale of Dorothea Dix, nearly a million dollars from the Golden Leaf Foundation and funds from other organizations, such as the State Division of Commerce.
Phase Two is the 20-bed behavioral health unit -- which will provide services similar to the current geriatric behavioral health unit, but will focus on a younger population.
Beard and Chief Operating Officer Clint Kendall said they plan to meet with the contractor this week.
"[The general contractor] will mobilize within the next four to six weeks and we'll start moving things around, doing the site work," Beard said.
"... [That facility] is going to be busy because there's a need in our state and our region."
The tour was arranged by Franklin County Economic Development Director Richie Duncan and included Golden Leaf Foundation President Dan Gerlach, former state representative and current Golden Leaf Board member Bobbie Richardson, County Commission Chair Sidney Dunston, former state senator and Louisburg mayor Lucy Allen and Franklin.