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‘Moving beds’ to where the patients are. How and why Indian Land may get a new hospital

Another hospital may be coming to one of the fastest-growing places in the region.

At their most recent meeting, trustee boards for the Medical University of South Carolina and hospital systems voted to file five new certificates of need for healthcare expansions. The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control has to issue a CON for major medical projects.

One request involves MUSC Health Lancaster Medical Center relocating 100 beds from its 225-bed facility to a new hospital in the high-growth Indian Land area. There’s a need, according to MUSC, to serve what is the second, fastest-growing zip code in the state.

“Currently, there are no existing beds or emergency services in northern Lancaster County,” said MUSC Health CEO Patrick J. Cawley. “We are moving beds and quality care to where the patients are.”

An exact location or construction details for the new hospital aren’t set. The site should, according to MUSC, include medical and surgical inpatient care, imaging, emergency services and outpatient care.

“We want to serve South Carolina residents in South Carolina by making top-quality care available in their home communities,” Cawley said. “In keeping with our delivery of care with a local community focus, it’s important to emphasize that the current MUSC Health facility in the city of Lancaster will remain open and continue to serve the patients and families in that geographic area.”

The existing hospital is the former Springs Memorial Hospital. Lancaster Medical Center has more than 100 physicians and a variety of hospital services including cardiology and stroke care.

Another CON application would upgrade Lancaster Medical. It would renovate and upgrade the catheterization lab and add emergency, a non-surgical procedure capability to place stents into blood vessels in the heart.

Other CON applications from the hospital system involve properties in Florence, Charleston and Williamsburg County.

It isn’t clear how quickly the project might move forward.

Earlier this year Piedmont Medical Center celebrated a legal decision allowing it to build a Fort Mill hospital after more than a decade of challenges among several hospital groups. There was discussion surrounding that celebration of whether the proposed hospital would be big enough, given a doubling of population in Fort Mill since the initial application.

As of September, DHEC had more than 50 projects at some stage of approval for a CON.

Piedmont had an application to renovate almost 3,500 square feet and add nine psychiatric beds at its Rock Hill site approved in August. The project is almost $1.2 million.

Interim Health of the Triad has applications under review to set up home health agencies in both Lancaster and Chester counties. Lancaster Home Care Services had similar requests approved in August for agencies in York and Chester counties.

The South Carolina Health Planning Committee next meets Oct. 25. A draft state health plan discussion is on the agenda.

Along with Piedmont’s planned Fort Mill hospital, like the Indian Land site expected to serve an area growing rapidly, Piedmont has a freestanding emergency department nearing its opening on Gold Hill Road. Earlier this month, hiring events were held in search of nurses, technicians and other roles.

That $15 million, more than 17,000-square-foot site should open in early 2020. It’s part of a trend toward freestanding facilities. The state has seven proposed freestanding emergency departments, imaging centers or rehabilitation hospitals.

MUSC has other plans for Indian Land, too. A ribbon-cutting for a primary care facility at 6277 Carolina Commons Drive, suite 100, is set for Nov. 19.

In March, MUSC announced its acquisition of then Springs Memorial Hospital in Lancaster and Chester Regional Medical Center in Chester. Now Lancaster Medical Center and Chester Medical Center, they total more than 300 beds.

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John Marks covers community growth, municipalities and general news mainly in the Fort Mill and York County areas. He began writing for the Herald and sister papers in 2005 and won dozens of South Carolina Press Association and other awards since.
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