Demand for emergency care increases around Charlotte area

by: Peter Daut Updated:


CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The population continues to grow across the Charlotte region and so does the demand for services that could save your life during an emergency.

Lanelle Richardson said there are times her husband, James -- a diabetic -- may need emergency care. The couple said a trip to the ER used to take more than 20 minutes. But now, a new facility in South Park is not too far of a drive from their home.

"It's a relief, because when you have a diabetic that might go into low blood sugar, you've got to have something happen quick," Lanelle Richardson said.

In roughly two years, Carolinas Healthcare System received state approval to open four satellite emergency rooms across the Charlotte region, at a cost of about $25 million each. Along with the ER in South Park that opened in May, CMC-Harrisburg began accepting patients a few weeks ago, and CMC-Kannapolis and CMC-Huntersville opened in 2012.

CMC Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer Carol Lovin said part of the reason so many ERs have opened recently is the growing -- and aging -- population.

"Over the last year we saw an increase in 4 percent in emergency room visits across the greater Charlotte region," she said.

Each of the ERs will have observation rooms, labs and CT scanners.

In Gaston County, Caromont Regional Medical Center is also expanding its emergency department. Crews are working on more than $2 million in upgrades and expansions, which is set to be finished in two years.