UNC Health plans $40 million enhancement of women's services

May 23—LUMBERTON — Over the next two years, UNC Health Southeastern plans to enhance its women's health services through a multi-phased initiative to upgrade its hospital services for women, mothers, and babies, as well as to consolidate its women's health clinics into one combined setting.

The health system is planning to invest more than $40 million in local construction and renovations to support the projects which include relocating hospital obstetrical, gynecological, and neonatal services into a state-of-the-art women's center on the 4th floor of Rust Tower.

"Our women's health services within the hospital will be upgrading from its current location in one of the original wings of the medical center, to a modern, centralized area in the heart of main campus," said OB/GYN Dr. Don McKinley, who serves as medical director for the health system's women's health program. "This will be a source of pride not only for our caregivers and providers, but also our community and the patients we serve."

This investment shows the health system's commitment to patient and family-focused care for women and newborns, providing state-of-the-art obstetrical and neonatal care all in one location.

"The new space for women's health services within UNC Health Southeastern's medical center will bring a much-needed upgrade, incorporating labor, delivery, recovery, and postpartum rooms for a more enjoyable experience for expectant parents," said Renae Taylor, UNC Health Southeastern Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer.

Another phase of the project will include the consolidation of the outpatient clinics from three locations into one.

"This will bring much-needed efficiencies, supporting women through all stages of life," said Taylor. "It will also support collaboration among caregivers as we provide comprehensive obstetric and gynecological care in our community."

UNC Health Southeastern women's health program has seen significant growth over the past five years, all leading up to this extensive facilities upgrade project.

"The expansion of our program has included the addition of seven OB/GYN physicians and the further development of our collaborative midwifery service," added Dr. McKinley. "Several of our OB/GYN's are able to offer gynecological robotic surgery. We will be continuing to offer high-risk obstetrics services, also known as maternal/fetal medicine, through the support of UNC Health and have established the leading, rural obstetrics addiction program in the state to meet our community's desperate need."

To accommodate all the plans of the women's health initiative, several clinics are slated to be moved to new locations within the health system, details of which will be announced as the project advances. UNC Health Southeastern Day Spa will close on June 7 to enable Rehabilitation Services to return to the Fayetteville Road location, making the 3rd floor of Southeastern Health Park available for the new location of the combined women's health clinics. Individuals who have gift cards for the day spa should contact Mike Jimenez at (910) 671-5000 ext. 5861 or michael.jimenez@srmc.org.

"We realize that this project is going to cause some areas and services to be interrupted, in most cases temporarily, but we are looking ahead to the final results and what that will mean to our community for not only expectant mothers and their infants, but also women and their health care needs throughout every stage of their lives," said Chris Ellington, UNC Health Southeastern President/CEO. "This project has been a long time coming for these patients and this community and we are willing to make the efforts needed to ultimately enhance these services."

Dr. McKinley added that the commitment of the UNC Health Southeastern Board of Trustees and Administration to women's health has been strong, especially now with the construction of a new high-tech, modern women's health unit and a new outpatient facility to bring all women's health programs under one roof.