Vidant Health plans to open health plex here

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A major health care provider in eastern North Carolina has plans to expand into Wilson County.

Vidant Health recently purchased roughly nine acres at 3724 Raleigh Road Parkway — near Hubert Vester Toyota — with the goal of building a 30,000-square-foot health plex. The $14 million project would create about 50 jobs, including 15 doctors, and open in late 2018.

“The health plex allows us over time to understand the clinical needs of patients in the Wilson area, then flex and adapt to meet those needs,” said Vidant Medical Group Senior Vice President of Operations Dan Drake.

In addition to office space and rooms to see patients, the facility will have an emphasis on patient education.

“We want to ensure we give patients privacy, but maximize their interaction with health coaches and other health maintenance providers,” he said.

No urgent care is planned for the site, but Vidant Health Chief Clinical Network Development Officer Todd Hickey said the practice will have extended hours to accommodate busy schedules.

“We recognize a lot of patients from Wilson have to leave for high-end and tertiary services, but we want them to have a way to follow up when they get back home,” said Hickey. “Care close to home is better.”

Rather than comparing Vidant to other health care groups, Hickey said cooperation among practices is key to providing the best care possible.

“We think that the local health care in Wilson is outstanding. There are so many great services and the local hospital does a great job,” he said. “We want to be more aligned with those providers and services than we’ve ever been, so our model is one of partnership first.”

Vidant is seeking voluntary annexation of the site into the city limits. The request will be the subject of a public hearing at the 7 p.m. Wilson City Council meeting on Thursday.

“We believe Vidant Health partnering in Wilson helps us develop a rural model of care to keep patients in eastern North Carolina with great quality outcomes,” Hickey said. “We look at those outcomes across chronic diseases from cardiovascular issues to cancer and how we keep patients aligned within the rural model, and this is a partnership to move the needle toward better patient outcomes.”

Vidant is headquartered in Greenville with facilities in Ahoskie, Belhaven, Edenton, Jacksonville, Kenansville, the Outer Banks, Tarboro, Washington and Windsor.