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Novant Health, Carolinas HealthCare System Compete For Inpatient Beds

Novant Health and Carolinas HealthCare System are running out of room at two of their hospitals in Mecklenburg County, so both systems are asking the state if they can add more inpatient beds. The state is holding a public hearing on that Tuesday morning.

Huntersville Medical Center is consistently packed.

Tanya Blackman is president of that Novant hospital, and she says it's been 80 to 100 percent full for most of the past year.

"We have had to send people to our sister facilities or other facilities to make sure that they were cared for because we didn't have a bed," she says.

Blackman says that's happened around 10 times in the past year.

That type of shuffling occurs within Carolinas HealthCare System, too. A spokesman for the system says its flagship hospital, Carolinas Medical Center, has been about 90 percent full for more than two years.

Spencer Lilly is president of Carolinas Medical Center.

"It's a combination of population growth as well as patient choice and selection, where they choose to receive their care," he says.

Both hospital systems want to add inpatient beds. Carolinas HealthCare system wants to add 34 at CMC-Mercy, which is really close to Carolinas Medical Center, and then six more at CMC-University to help relieve pressure.

Novant wants to add 17 beds at Huntersville Medical Center.

But the state Department of Health and Human Services is only projecting a need for 40 more beds total. That leaves Carolinas HealthCare System and Novant competing to get all the beds they want.

The state is hosting a public hearing on that competition Tuesday at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center. The hospitals expect the state to decide who gets how many beds around March.