Let the latest fight over new medical expansion in the Triangle begin.
This round will feature this region's health providers sparring over three operating rooms that state regulators have ruled will be needed in Wake County.
WakeMed, Rex Healthcare and Duke Raleigh Hospital all submitted applications Monday with the N.C. Certificate of Need office to meet a state deadline. Other bids are likely to filed by later today.
Every year, regulators review projected demand in each county and determine whether there will be a need for additional hospital beds, ORs and more. Then the state accepts bids, reviews applications and determines which project makes the best case based on need, cost and other factors.
WakeMed applied to spend $5.87 million to add the three ORs to its Cary hospital, which now has nine ORs. That facility serves a growing population in western Wake County and beyond, said Stan Taylor, WakeMed's vice president of corporate planning.
"It's an existing facility with a great deal of need and a strong track record of meeting the community's needs," Taylor said. "We're optimistic we'll be successful in winning these in a competitive fight."
Rex, meanwhile, announced last month it would apply to add two ORs to an outpatient facility under construction in Holly Springs, and another to its main campus in Raleigh. The OR at Rex's flagship hospital would be related to a larger expansion of its cancer services.
Duke Raleigh applied to add two ORs at its main hospital, as part of a broader expansion planned for the North Raleigh facility.
"This application is yet another step in executing a master plan that is necessary to transform our facility from one that was designed for light elective surgery at its inception in the 1970s to one that provides the people of Wake County sophisticated specialty and subspecialty care," said Duke Raleigh CEO Douglas Vinsel, in a prepared statement.
State regulators will take about six months to review the bids. The initial ruling will almost certainly be appealed by losing parties, setting up a long legal fight.
"It could be next year or later before we know who gets these ORs," Taylor said.