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Published on September 29, 2014

Cone Health Plans New Women's Hospital and Innovative Changes in Behavioral Health Services

Women's Hospital Concept DrawingCone Health will make major changes to improve the care of women, infants and behavioral health patients in the Greensboro area. The Cone Health Board of Trustees has approved initial plans to make care more convenient, expand operating rooms and the neonatal intensive care unit and move women closer to advanced medical services. The board also approved plans to change the way behavioral health services are offered with the goal of helping patients avoid mental health crises. These projects are expected to represent a $100 million investment during the next five years.

These changes will move women’s and infants’ services from Women’s Hospital to a separate and distinct area of The Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital campus by 2019, open a new facility in 2016 to provide behavioral health care to people not needing a hospital stay and eventually replace Cone Health Behavioral Health Hospital. As part of this multi-campus project, Cone Health also plans to renovate and expand the operating rooms as well as the pre- and post-surgical areas of Wesley Long Hospital. (The actions do not impact services at Alamance Regional Medical Center and Annie Penn Hospital.)

“The board saw this as an opportunity to improve the quality and efficiency of the care we will provide to our community during the next 20 to 30 years,” says Cone Health Board Chairwoman Deborah Hooper. “We will create a better experience for our patients and their families while at the same time confronting overcapacity and declining volumes. These are bold steps. And they are necessary steps to improve the health of our community in the decades to come.”

“These projects will help us continue to transform how we provide health care in our communities and ensure the long-term sustainability of the care and services we are privileged to provide,” says Cone Health President and Chief Operating Officer Terry Akin. 

These moves require extensive planning, design and state approval. Physicians, leaders, patients, the board and staff will continue to be involved in this process. Here are the details:

Women’s and Children’s Services

  • A 50,000 sq. ft. addition will be added to The Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital. It will provide services for women and infants with its own entrance, separate elevators and a separate parking area for patients and families.
  • State approval will be sought in 2015.
  • Groundbreaking is anticipated in 2016.
  • The facility should open at Moses Cone Hospital by early 2019.

The new location will bring women’s and children’s services to the same campus, which will offer improved quality and convenience for the community. This project also will bring women closer to the specialists and advanced services available at Moses Cone Hospital. Great attention will be paid to keeping the connection that Women’s Hospital has to women across the Triad. “Women’s Hospital truly delivers a special experience to moms and their families. Women tell us that every day,” says Cone Health Executive Vice President of Acute Care Services Judy Schanel. “And care is much more than a building. It is the way our doctors, nurses and support staff respect and care for everyone they encounter. Bringing that special experience with us is our top priority.”

Behavioral Health Services

  • Continue to redesign the way Cone Health provides behavioral health care to the community.
  • Behavioral health services for those not requiring a hospital stay will move from Behavioral Health Hospital by early 2016. These outpatient services will be improved to benefit the patients in our community.
  • Construction of a new Behavioral Health Hospital is expected to begin in 2018.
  • The new Behavioral Health Hospital is expected to open in late 2019.

“One of the most exciting parts of this project is that we are dramatically changing how behavioral health care is provided,” says Schanel. “We have studied how the most successful programs work and we believe we can help mental health patients stay well, get them through the tough times when they need it and return them to productive lives more quickly than ever before.”

Both Women’s Hospital and Behavioral Health Hospital would have needed extensive remodeling in their current locations to stay ahead of evolving patient needs. Parents of babies in the neonatal intensive care unit have asked to spend nights on the unit with their baby. There isn’t space in the existing unit. Likewise, while adequate today, operating rooms need to be larger to accommodate the increasing amount of technology used in surgery.

Baby boomers are changing the way mental health care is provided. They often have diabetes, high-blood pressure and other chronic conditions requiring medical as well as psychiatric care. Cone Health also expects to provide more behavioral health care designed to help patients avoid crisis situations requiring hospital stays.

Operating Areas at Wesley Long

  • The project will renovate operating rooms to create larger, more contemporary facilities and expand pre- and post-surgery areas.
  • Cone Health will seek state approval in 2015. Construction should begin in 2016 with anticipated completion by spring 2018.

“The board has given us an ambitious set of goals. There is a lot of work ahead in figuring out the details and the steps needed to meet them,” says Schanel.

The public can keep up with the latest on these projects by visiting conehealth.com/reinventingcare.

Cone Health does not expect job losses to result from these projects. Instead, Cone Health is committed to using turnover and retraining staff during the next five years as needed.

Media Inquiries

For media inquiries related to Cone Health, contact:

Doug Allred, External Communications Manager
(336) 832-8659