The medical facilities under the watchful eye of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Hospital Authority care for the injured and infirmed. As the largest health care system in the Carolinas, the organization, operating as Carolinas HealthCare System (CHS), owns or manages more than 30 affiliated hospitals. It also operates long-term care facilities, research centers, rehabilitation facilities, surgery centers, home health agencies, radiation therapy facilities, and other health care operations. Collectively, CHS facilities have more than 6,400 beds, and affiliated physician practices employ more than 1,700 doctors. The network's flagship facility is the 875-bed Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, North Carolina.
The main Carolinas Medical Center is a teaching hospital that opened in 1940 and was designated as the Charlotte campus of the University of North Carolina School of Medicine in 2010. The facility's research program focuses on medical discoveries in areas including muscular dystrophy and cancer. Specialty services of Carolinas Medical Center and other system facilities include behavioral health, cancer treatment, cardiovascular care, emergency medicine, organ transplants, women's health, and urology.
With its more than 95,000 annual inpatient admissions and operating revenues of more than $3.5 billion in fiscal 2010, CHS is financially stable and poised for growth. Additionally, its investment portfolio of more than $2 billion is large, diversified, and highly liquid. Annual contributions to its defined benefit pension plan have increased from about $35 million in fiscal 2007 to almost $54 million in fiscal 2010.
CHS is using its financial strength to add new locations in outlying areas of cities and improve on the services it offers. To that end CHS has developed three free-standing health care pavilions, operating as 24-hour emergency departments, in Kannapolis (serving Cabarrus County and south Rowan County), Waxhaw (Union County), and Steele Creek (Mecklenburg County). It also has plans underway to open facilities in Huntersville and Harrisburg in 2012.
Affiliations provide a venue of expansion for the health care system. In 2010 CHS entered into an affiliation with MedWest Health, adding three additional hospitals to its line-up in North Carolina. The health care system's affiliations account for about a third of its hospitals and roughly 15% of its total bed count.
CHS also grows through construction. In 2009 the enterprise spent tens of millions of dollars on new construction projects, expansions, and upgrades (despite the failing economy). One of the many projects it completed in 2010 was the 100-bed CMC-Lincoln Hospital. CHS filed a certificate of need with South Carolina to build a 65-bed hospital in Fort Mill. In 2011 South Carolina regulators approved CHS' bid to build the hospital, to be named Carolinas Medical Center - Fort Mill. CHS' bid trumped others made by Novant Health, which operates Presbyterian Hospital, and Tenet Healthcare, which runs Piedmont Medical Center. The hospital's estimated cost is about $80 million; the plan includes an emergency department, cardiac catheterization, MRI and CT scanning, endoscopy, and a full range of outpatient diagnostics.
In 2010 CHS formed the Levine Cancer Institute with a $20 million leadership gift it received from the Leon Levine Foundation. CHS plans to invest about $500 million in the institute over the next 10 years to improve cancer treatment, research, and education in communities outside Charlotte.
Outside the millions spent on construction projects, CHS also provides millions toward charitable and community outreach activities. In 2009 it contributed about $840 million in benefits provided to under- and uninsured patients at Carolinas Medical Center and other hospitals and centers throughout the Carolinas. In 2010 more than $1 billion in benefits was raised. – less