The appeal holding up Piedmont Medical Center’s plans to build a new Fort Mill hospital has been denied.
“I just have one thing to say. We won!” said Piedmont CEO Mark Nosacka.
The Supreme Court of South Carolina now lists the issue as concluded after denying an appeal from what is now Atrium Health. Piedmont held an event Thursday afternoon in Fort Mill to detail the decision allowing for a new hospital, the same day Piedmont learned of the decision.
“The people of Fort Mill deserve a hospital in their community and now,” Nosacka said at the downtown gathering, “they’re going to get one.”
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Earlier this month, Nosacka said at the groundbreaking for a new standalone emergency department on Gold Hill Road he was confident Piedmont would be allowed to build a hospital.
“We’ve had a dream of building a hospital in Fort Mill,” Nosacka said at that event. “And on that front let me just say it. We’ve never been closer.”
Piedmont won the right to build a Fort Mill hospital in 2006. Carolinas HealthCare (now Atrium Health) and Novant Health appealed. Carolinas HealthCare won a 2011 decision to build a Fort Mill hospital, which was appealed. Novant later withdrew. In 2014, a judge ruled for Piedmont’s $120 million, 100-bed hospital.
The state court of appeals again ruled for Piedmont. Carolinas HealthCare appealed in mid-2017 to take the decision to the supreme court.
Mayor Guynn Savage said the town has been eagerly awaiting a hospital decision for 15 years. Piedmont has sponsored the town’s South Carolina Strawberry Festival and provided medical services throughout the county.
“The sooner they get started, the better,” Savage said. “I’m happy for a decision.”
The mayor said it’s important to realize Fort Mill was big enough and in need enough to warrant a hospital well more than a decade ago.
“Since 2006 our population has doubled, and we still didn’t have a hospital until the announcement today,” she said. “We had a demonstrated and qualified need in 2006 for what they’re announcing today. For me, that process is broken. But we’re not going to let that overshadow the excitement of the day.”
Nosacka said plans are to build the hospital Piedmont applied to build, not a bigger one to meet increased growth demand since that initial application. Details on groundbreaking and other construction milestones haven’t been determined. Nosacka did acknowledge the considerable growth Savage describes since the hospital issue began.
“Now there’s even more people that need healthcare in their community,” he said. “And we’re just overjoyed with the ability to go in there, build a hospital and be a bigger part of this community.”
Atrium issued a statement following the court decision regarding the company’s next steps.
“Atrium Health is disappointed by the South Carolina Supreme Court ruling regarding the proposed Fort Mill hospital, and we are reviewing the decision,” it reads. “Many York County residents have chosen, and will continue to choose, Atrium Health for their care. We remain committed to delivering the highest quality and most comprehensive services to our patients, families and the York County community, and will continue serving all of York County’s healthcare needs.”
With so many prior decisions leading to appeal rather than construction, Nosacka appeared confident the issue is now settled.
“The Supreme Court said this is over, and the Supreme Court is the law of the land,” he said.