Everyone who has ever called customer service to resolve a problem knows what it’s like to be put on hold. You’re hopeful you’ll be able to talk to a friendly, helpful person, but the longer you wait, the less hopeful and more uncertain you become. It’s like that right now for Piedmont Health Services and all health providers in this country. What can we anticipate from the outcome of the debate that has been going on in Washington about the direction of health-care policy? How will it affect us?
The answers to these questions are on hold, but we can’t put Piedmont Health Services on hold. We have to keep moving forward – and “moving” can be taken literally these days at Piedmont Health. Our corporate office has moved to a new location. We are now headquartered at 123 and 127 Kingston Drive, Chapel Hill, NC 27514 in two buildings next to each other, with two floors in each building.
It’s not the location we would choose in more certain times, but I am excited about this move. By leaving our old headquarters on Lloyd Street in Carrboro, where we shared a building with the Carrboro Community Health Center, we are able to greatly expand that health center. (Construction is underway.) The center will expand its clinical space from 10,000 to 15,500 square feet. That will allow us to serve more patients, provide a better pharmaceutical experience, and double the capacity of our dental area.
That’s all great news. While our corporate office is not as big as we would like, the new office also is a big improvement. In our old corporate office, more than 20 staff members did not have a permanent desk or telephone.
The move had been planned for 18 months, and we originally envisioned a larger corporate office. Our new office resolves our space problems for now, and it solves those problems at a lower cost than we originally had budgeted. The change in plans reaffirms the dedication and commitment of all of our staff to making sure that Piedmont Health dedicates as much of our resources as possible to patient care.
We may need a larger corporate office in the future, depending on what the landscape for health policy looks like. Piedmont Health serves a large and growing need, but federal and state policy greatly affects our ability to serve that need. Health-care policy drives funds for Medicare and Medicaid, as well as other issues such as loan repayment policies for doctors and other health-care personnel, that greatly impact Piedmont Health and all other health-care providers.
When Congress and the President come out with a clear direction for health care policy, it will be like finally being taken off hold and speaking to a live person who can answer all of your questions. In the meantime, we will continue to find ways (like scaling back expansion plans) to do what we’ve always done – provide high-quality care to all patients. We may have moved, but we’re not going anywhere.