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Atrium Health is opening its mobile hospital Monday to help increase access to care in the Charlotte area

The health system said the emergency mobile hospital will be used to help treat less critical patients and provide bed space as hospitalizations continue to rise.

PINEVILLE, N.C. — To aid in the battle for hospital beds Atrium Health has deployed its mobile hospital. It will sit right outside the Pineville Hospital location. 

It opens Monday and will help by treating less-critical emergency room patients who don't have COVID-19. 

Atrium Health said the mobile unit adds 14 beds and a 2-bed operating room, which will create a 40%  increase in capacity for the ER.

Dr. David Callaway, Atrium Health's Chief of Disaster Medicine said the mobile unit comes at a time when worries about new strains threaten to further hamper staff's ability to care for all its patients.

"They were in a race against mutation - were pretty full – we've gotten very good at being efficient- but one more mutation in the wrong direction of the virus and it's a totally different ball game."

The health system said the emergency mobile hospital will be used to help treat less critical patients, providing added bed space during a time when hospitalizations continue to rise due to COVID-19 in the Charlotte area and around the country.  Atrium Health already owns two of these mobile hospitals, which can be used for a number of purposes, including caring for patients when there is an increase in hospital capacity.

 “After careful consideration, Atrium Health Pineville was chosen as the best use of the mobile hospital, to help make the greatest impact on our patients and the broader community we serve,” said Mike Lutes, senior vice president and South Market president for Atrium Health. “By deploying Atrium Health MED-1, we are able to create a more than 40 percent increase in emergency department capacity, which is especially important as we care for our patients and community during this pandemic.”

The health system says patients who may need lab work, medication refills or imaging, such as X-rays, could be seen at the mobile hospital. Examples include, but are not limited to, rashes, ear pain, lacerations and minor sprains. Patients seeking care will continue to go to the emergency room, Atrium Health says.

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However, patients showing symptoms or who are COVID-19 positive will not be treated in the mobile hospital, but rather will follow the same COVID-Safe protocols the hospital already has in place.

 “Atrium Health MED-1 has treated tens of thousands of patients, delivering the highest quality of care since day one. I am excited that our team will be able to continue to deliver critical care while the mobile hospital is deployed to Atrium Health Pineville,” said Alicia Campbell, facility executive and vice president at Atrium Health Pineville. “We are grateful and fortunate to have access to Atrium Health MED-1, as it allows us to continue to support our community’s needs through this current wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

 In late 2018, Atrium Health MED-1 assisted the Pender County, North Carolina, community recover after Hurricane Florence forced Pender Memorial Hospital to close temporarily. This will be the first time Atrium Health has deployed it to support one of its own facilities in the Charlotte area.

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 Here's what Atrium Health MED-1 mobile hospital features:

  • Atrium Health MED-1 was developed in 2000 and has 14 acute care beds and a two-bed operating room.
  • This unique mobile hospital includes digital X-ray, ultrasound, lab, pharmacy and much more equipment that is needed to operate an emergency department.
  • Atrium Health teammates often deploy with the mobile hospital, including nurses, doctors, trauma surgeons, paramedics, certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA), information services support personnel and other staff including, but not limited to, the emergency, intensive care unit and surgical departments.
  • MED-1 is an acronym for Mobile Emergency Department.

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