Piedmont Henry planning $3.5 million hospital expansion

Piedmont Henry is planning a $3.5 million expansion to create more space for patients who are hospitalized for less than a day.

The Henry County hospital has been struggling with overcrowding since the pandemic and observation patients -- people who need to be hospitalized temporarily --are often housed wherever space allows, Piedmont Henry Hospital CEO Dr. Lily Henson said.

“Observation patients are those deemed by insurance companies to require less than 23 hours in the hospital,” Henson told the Henry County Commission during its meeting on Tuesday. “[They] undergo a series of tests to determine whether they meet criteria for full admission.

“Right now our observation patients are scattered throughout the hospital because we are so jam packed that we will place our patients in any space available,” she said.

The Commission approved using federal American Rescue Plan Act dollars to fund the hospital’s expansion, which is expected to take about six months to build when construction begins. It was unclear Tuesday when that work would start.