Vidant Beaufort Hospital, Healthcare and Capital

Published 2:48 pm Sunday, October 11, 2015

By Al Klemm, retired Beaufort County Commissioner

Several years ago, my family doctor at Vidant Family Medicine in Chocowinity advised me to have a PSA test to determine if I possibly had prostate cancer. The results came back high but I had read information that the PSA test was not accurate by itself. The doctor advised a prostate biopsy but I asked the doctor to reschedule another PSA when I came in for my next 6 month exam. The doctor agreed that the future test would be an acceptable approach.

When prostate cancer develops, the PSA level usually goes above 4. Still, a level below 4 does not guarantee that a man doesn’t have cancer – about 15% of men with a PSA below 4 will have prostate cancer on a biopsy. Men with a PSA level between 4 and 10 have about a 1 in 4 chance of having prostate cancer. If the PSA is more than 10, the chance of having prostate cancer is over 50%.

My second PSA test was higher than the first. The doctor scheduled me for a biopsy at Vidant Beaufort Hospital. The biopsy revealed I did have prostate cancer.  I had both brachytherapy performed at Vidant Beaufort Hospital and radiation at the Marion L. Cancer Center in Washington. Side effects that occurred were addressed at Vidant Washington Urology.

My point is that I received and continue to receive excellent health care from Vidant. Every six months they see me and I do exactly what they say.

Recently, I had an opportunity to participate in a tour of Vidant Beaufort Hospital, Marion L. Shepard Cancer Center and the Wellness Center. What impressed me most was how new everything looked in the hospital and how much the cancer center had changed. The only area I considered lacking was the emergency room and they have a plan for it.

Due to the state of the facilities, I was interested in the capital improvements they have made and asked them if they would provide a list which they did.

The total capital dollars spent by Vidant on the Beaufort County facilities thus far is $18,900,179.88. Items in the 2016 plan equal $6,877,600. The 2017-2020 capital plan is for an additional $12,738,200. Based on my experience in manufacturing, I believe it will probably change as additional needs are identified. The two largest items completed are the electronic records system, $7,177,915, and Marion L. Shepard Cancer Center upgrades and renovations, $4,700,000. There are many lesser items but they are actually high cost items that add up quickly.

Also included in 2015 is $300,000 for emergency department expansion facility planning. I understand the project might actually start next year and $6,500,000 is already dedicated to the project in the capital plan. It’s a need that will be highly appreciated by the citizens and the hospital as there are changes that affect both. I believe Vidant is committed to the community and providing first class medical facilities.

Due to the closing of Pungo District Hospital in Belhaven, there has been speculation by certain parties that Vidant Beaufort Hospital in Washington will close. In my opinion, these are scare tactics with absolutely nothing to back it up.  The total dollars spent and those dollars to be spent in Beaufort County by Vidant equals $38,515,890. That is a huge investment for Beaufort County and a hospital that would be closed. I believe it is safe to say that Vidant is here to stay in Beaufort County and that we are fortunate to have them.


Al Klemm




Vidant Beaufort County – Capital Improvements

Description Cost
Vidant Beaufort Hospital Electronic Health Record (FY 2012) $4,978,322
Vidant Medical Group (physician practices) Electronic Health Record (FY 2012) $2,199,593
Patient Beds (FY 2012) $306,440
New Elevators (FY 2013) $575,177
Patient Infusion Pumps (FY 2013) $412,062
Infants / Pedatric Monitoring System (FY 2013) $342,290
Patient Telemetry Monitors (FY 2014) $550,000
Marion L. Cancer Center Renovations (FY 2015) $4,700,000
Building Waterproofing project (FY 2015) $800,000
Emergency Department expansion facility planning (FY 2015) $300,000
3D Mammography (FY 2015) $343,206
New Phone System (FY 2015) $550,000
Roofing – Hospital, Vidant Family Medicine Aurora, General Surgery (FY 2013, 2014, 2015) $563,637
Additional Capital Projects $2,279,453
Total $18,900,179
Upcoming 2016
Emergency Department Expansion $3,300,000
Radiology (upgrades to existing equipment and replacing ultrasound machine with new technology) $630,000
Nurse Call System $200,000
Wellness Equipment $172,600
Additional Capital Projects $42,275,000
Total $6,877,600
2017-2020 Capital Plan
ED Expansion $3,200,000
Additional Capital Projects $9,538,200
Total $12,738,200
Grand Total $38,515,980