More rural hospitals are reducing services or joining huge hospital companies. But a small hospital in northwestern North Carolina wants to stay independent and expand.
Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital in Elkin has asked state regulators' permission for a 41 million-dollar expansion of its emergency department.
About nine percent more patients a year are coming to the emergency room. When other small hospitals aligned with larger hospitals, Hugh Chatham went a different direction.
Two years ago it spent 20 million dollars to add surgical space and imaging equipment.
Now, patients are deciding to go to the local hospital rather than drive to cities.