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Wake Forest Baptist Welcomes Wilkes Medical Center into Its Health Care Family with a Celebration for Town Leaders and Employees

Expanded Clinical Services Announced at Wilkes Medical Center

NORTH WILKESBORO, N.C. – July 21, 2017 – Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center announced plans to expand clinical services at Wake Forest Baptist Health – Wilkes Medical Center during a celebration and official welcome for hospital employees and town leaders today.

Wake Forest Baptist began its initial 30-year lease of Wilkes Medical Center at the beginning of this month after officially completing the agreement with the Town of North Wilkesboro.

“Today is a great day to celebrate,” said Julie Ann Freischlag, M.D., CEO, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. “We’ve only been leading Wilkes Medical Center since July 1, but we have a relationship of working closely together that goes back nearly 10 years. The expanded services we plan to bring to Wilkes will help us treat the patient at the right location, and that means continuing to treat those who live in the region at their home hospital – Wilkes Medical Center.”

The services to expand include:

  • Electronic health records (EPIC) – Provide a behind-the-scenes service that streamlines and standardizes care across the entire health system and allows quicker transfers to intensive care in Winston-Salem; went into service July 1.
  • General surgery – Grow the strong foundation created by Jon Thompson, M.D., with more surgeons that will allow more patients to be treated locally.
  • Hospital physicians (Hospitalists) – Care for patients while in the hospital, just like primary care providers do when patients are back home. They collaborate with primary care providers to administer safe and effective treatment during hospitalization and seamless care upon discharge. Continue the current Wake Forest Baptist program at Wilkes Medical Center by recruiting in Wake Forest Baptist providers for better consistency in care to help achieve appropriate patient placements at Wilkes and allow for increased use of beds for local needs.
  • Obstetrics and primary care – Recruit additional physicians and advanced practice providers to give people in the region more options of providers for their family.
  • Orthopaedics – Expand orthopaedics to a multi-physician, comprehensive orthopaedic program allowing current patients to get needed care locally.
  • Outpatient services – Add identified clinical needs in areas such as cardiac rehabilitation and pulmonary care to keep patients conveniently close to home for their treatments.

“A lot of thought and care has gone into the programs we plan to expand at Wilkes Medical Center. Our goal is to help people in this region receive care close to home from their home hospital,” said J. Gene Faile, M.B.A., FACHE, president, Wake Forest Baptist Health – Wilkes Medical Center.

Another service that will continue to grow and provide care for patients in the region is the Network Physicians of Wilkes, which was developed by Wilkes Medical Center during its 10-year management agreement with Carolinas HealthCare System. 

“We are grateful for the leadership and management that Carolinas HealthCare System provided Wilkes Medical Center for the past ten years,” said Michael T. Waid, M.B.A., senior vice president, health system operations and integration, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. “Their operation of Wilkes Regional provided a seamless transition of management and care. We appreciate their foresight in helping develop the Network Physicians of Wilkes and know growth of the network through Wake Forest Baptist will help many more patients needing care.”

Under the terms of the initial 30-year lease agreement, Wake Forest Baptist will invest $238 million in support of Wilkes Medical Center, the Town of North Wilkesboro, the Wilkes community, and patients served in the region.

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