Pediatric hospitals find profits, growth

While no sector is Teflon-coated against the ill winds currently buffeting the hospital industry, pediatric hospitals have provided some of the few bright spots on the horizon with news of profits and expansion plans.

The Carolinas HealthCare System is mulling further expansion of 234-bed Levine's Children's Hospital in Charlotte, N.C., reports the Charlotte Business Journal. Levine's, which has been open for less than three years, enjoyed an 18 percent increase in inpatient discharges in 2009, a 32 percent jump in outpatient visits, and a 10 percent climb in pediatric emergency department visits.

With the hospital nearing capacity, options under consideration by Levine officials include possible physical expansion and the addition of new services--including pediatric-urgent care--at other Carolinas HealthCare locations. Levine's more than 30 specialized pediatric services have helped drive growth, say officials. These include heart, liver and kidney transplants; cardiac care; cancer care; neurosurgery; and neonatal intensive care and rehabilitation services.

Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center has opened the Pluripotent Stem Cell Facility to give area researchers a central source for human stem cell technologies, says the Business Courier. Pluripotent will provide cells to researchers at Cincinnati Children's, the University of Cincinnati Medical Center and other research facilities, as well as providing training in stem cell growth and utilization. The center, which is the only one of its kind in the region, could be expanded further as the demand increases for human embryonic stem cells and related services.

Columbus, Ohio-based Nationwide Children's Hospital has opened a Close To Home Center in Mansfield to provide area counties with specialty clinics in pediatric surgery, neurology and urology. Richland, Ashland, Huron, Crawford, Morrow and Knox counties accounted for 22,297 patient visits to Nationwide last year. Nationwide now operates nine Close To Home Centers that offer community-based testing and treatment for pediatric patients.

To learn more:
- read the Charlotte Business Journal article
- here's the Business Courier article
- check out the Mansfield News Journal article