Founded in 2002, The Outer Banks Hospital is a private, not-for-profit acute care hospital located in Nags Head. Fully accredited by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organization, the hospital is realizing its vision – to be the preferred healthcare provider, employer of choice, and a national leader in meeting the needs of the community it serves.

The hospital serves a year-round population of approximately 33,000 in Dare County along with another 5,000 from surrounding counties. On a peak summer day, the population can swell to 250,000. To accommodate this increase, the Emergency Department operates a Minor Care section during June – August, which runs 12 hours a day. All total, the ED sees an annual volume of 23,000 visits with 40% of them occurring during the summer months.

The Emergency Department has 21 beds, which includes 2 trauma bays, an isolation room, cast room, 2 GYN exam rooms, ENT room, suture room, a seclusion room and 4 ambulatory outpatient beds. The hospital employs an all-RN staff in the ED, with support by unit secretaries and nursing assistants. A helipad is located adjacent to the ambulance entrance; Dare County Emergency Medical Services operates a medical helicopter for transports out of the community, weather permitting.

Medical specialties at the hospital include cardiology, cardiopulmonology, emergency services, laboratory with blood bank, nuclear medicine, obstetrics & gynecology, oncology, ophthalmology, orthopedics, pediatrics, physical – speech – and occupational therapies, surgery and radiology including CT scan, ultrasound, mammography, MRI, and fluoroscopy. Three hospitalists serve on active staff. A hospitalist is a physician whose practice is dedicated to caring for patients when they are admitted to the hospital. After discharge, the patient is referred back to their private doctor.

The hospital has two state-of-the-art operating rooms, with a third designated C-section OR. Of the 19 in-patient beds, two are dedicated to Labor, Delivery, Recovery, and Postpartum and 16 are medical/surgical rooms. There is one Level 1 nursery bed. The hospital averages more than 400 births a year.

Since opening, the hospital has experienced volume increases in key services areas. Last year, inpatient admissions grew by over 4%. Surgical procedures increased by over 8%. Births increased by over 12% from prior year and outpatient procedures grew by nearly 13%. These statistics are significant in that they represent the growing trust that the hospital has earned from both physicians and the community at large.

The hospital continues to expand services to meet the needs of the community. MRI services have been increased to three days per week. The state of North Carolina awarded the hospital a certificate of need to construct a fixed MRI unit, which will be operational in the fall of 2007. In addition, the hospital has worked with local and regional physicians to ensure access to a wider variety of medial specialties close to home, including medical oncology, which is of importance given the prevalence of cancer on the Outer Banks. In recognition of this need, the Development Council of The Outer Banks Hospital has continued its fundraising to construct a Cancer Resource Center on the hospital campus to provide cancer patients and their families the education, support and care coordination needed to battle this disease. The success of the Development Council’s fundraising efforts will result in the opening of the Cancer Resource Center this year.

The hospital’s patient satisfaction scores rank among the highest in the nation. In October, the Jackson Organization, a healthcare market research firm, recognized the hospital with an award for the highest overall inpatient satisfaction among hospitals with fewer than 100 beds. Also, Colleen Kakretz was the first nurse from the outer Banks to receive statewide recognition as a “Great 100” nurse.

As The Outer Banks Hospital prepares to celebrate its fifth birthday, the physicians, staff and volunteers are pleased to be meeting the healthcare needs of the community they call home.