Russell’s Ramblings

Those who do not hear the music might think the dancer mad

Huntersville needs behavioral health hospital

A couple of weeks ago, I spoke at a certificate of need hearing for a new 66-bed behavioral hospital planned for Huntersville by Carolinas HealthCare System.  I shared with officials from the Division of Health Service Regulation the need for such a facility and the Lake Norman Chamber’s strong support as our community and region continues to see a dramatic increase in our population.

Del Murphy, Jr. vice president of Carolinas HealthCare System’s Management Company shared with our Chamber leaders the overwhelming need for additional beds for behavioral health services.  Murphy pointed out that on an average day between 20 and to 30 patients are held in the emergency departments and general acute care beds at CMC hospitals in Charlotte, awaiting psychiatric bed placement. CMC-Randolph inpatient occupancy exceeds 100%.  There are simply not enough beds to service our growing population.  I pointed out that the community in which I live, Huntersville, was roughly 3,000 people in 1990.  Today there are 46,773 people living in our town.

Granddaddy Russell with my sister Tanya at our farm (1994)

I also shared a personal story that my Grandfather Russell lived the remaining six years of his life with Alzheimer’s and my Grandmother Feemster battled dementia before we lost her this past February.  I loved my grandparents dearly and spent many weekends with them in the twilight of their life.  I  sat by their bed looking in their empty eyes that stared back at me, wondering who was that stranger holding their hand.  It still brings tears to my eyes to think of those final years we had together.  But just as they took care of me as a child, my family took turns staying with them.  However, many families in North Mecklenburg and South Iredell simply do not have that resource.

Mothers Day 2009 with Grandmamma Feemster at her house

Many families have husbands, wives, sons or daughters who battle mental illness who have yet to be treated or in some cases diagnosed.  Their extended family resources may be limited and their options few.  That’s compounded when they have to travel to outlying counties for service when they live here in our lake region.

We are fortunate to have outstanding healthcare providers in the Lake Norman region, but there can be no dispute that we are sorely lacking when it comes to psychiatric health.    As business and community leaders, we cannot settle for anything less but the very best when it comes to the health of our citizens and employees.  The Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce supports this proposed facility

August 8, 2011 Posted by | Chamber of Commerce | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment