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The Tidelands Health Newsroom

Published on December 07, 2010

Georgetown Hospital System To Build in Murrells Inlet, Georgetown

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Georgetown, SC ---- Georgetown Hospital System is excited to announce new projects designed to improve patient access and convenience and provide additional services at both Waccamaw Community Hospital in Murrells Inlet and Georgetown Memorial Hospital in Georgetown, hospital officials said today.

Murrells Inlet Building Projects Unveiled

A new 3 story, 90,000 square foot medical office building is under construction on the campus of Waccamaw Community Hospital.  The new facility, expected to be completed in about a year,  will likely include a variety of services and uses, which have not yet been finalized.  Among services and uses under consideration are primary care and specialty physician offices, endoscopy, imaging, wound care, rehabilitation, pain management  and development of a comprehensive and integrated orthopedic-spine- neuroscience (OSN) service.

Hospital officials also said they would seek approval of a Certificate of Need (CON) request permitting the addition of four operating rooms at Waccamaw Community Hospital.  Existing operating rooms are functioning near capacity, they said.  Additional operating rooms are a critical component leading to development the OSN service, hospital officials said. The project is expected to take approximately two years to complete.

In another project, GHS is seeking approval of a required Certificate of Need (CON) from South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) allowing relocation of Francis B. Ford Radiation Therapy Services from its current location near Georgetown to Murrells Inlet.

If approved, the radiation therapy service, which is provided through an affiliation relationship with MUSC Hollings Cancer Center, would be located at Waccamaw Cancer Center, adjacent to Waccamaw Medical Park on Highway 17 Bypass, across from Waccamaw Community Hospital. 

“We believe access would be much improved by locating radiation therapy services in a segment of our service area that continues to experience dramatic population growth and is densely populated,” Bruce P. Bailey, CEO said.

A specific date for relocating the radiation therapy service has not been finalized, Bailey said.

Georgetown Memorial Hospital Replacement Plans Announced

A replacement facility for Georgetown Memorial Hospital will be built on the hospital’s existing campus at 606 Black River Road, Georgetown, hospital officials announced today.

The decision to build on the existing campus, instead of on property owned by GHS on Highway 701, was driven by changing indicators which could not have been predicted when initial plans were announced, they said.  The extended and severe national economic downturn played a large part in the decision to move the replacement facility. As well, several large housing projects failed to materialize, they said.  The uncertainties of healthcare reform and reimbursement models have placed additional pressure on cost efficiency.

While details have not been finalized, it is anticipated the replacement facility project will include a combination of new construction, building reorientation, renovation and redesign to increase efficiency and improve the overall patient experience, Bruce P. Bailey, CEO, said.

“We believe this decision is in the best interest of our patients, our community and our organization,” Bailey said.  “We have a responsibility to continue reinvesting in our community and the Board of Trustees is firmly committed to doing so.  We also have a responsibility to remain cost efficient in the process,” he added.

Much of the focus of the project will center around creation of new patient care areas, with focus on critical care, surgical services and women’s and children’s services.  The building is expected to be completely re-oriented by designing a new entrance and public and employee work corridors, based on a model used successfully at Waccamaw Community Hospital.

“By focusing on patient care areas, we can improve efficiencies and the overall patient experience and will avoid expense associated with construction of all new back office, support and administrative areas, which would have been needed had the replacement been built elsewhere,” Bailey explained.

Plans to build the replacement facility on the existing campus do not eliminate intentions to provide open heart surgery services, originally announced in conjunction with the plan to relocate GMH.

“We will move forward and seek ways to offer open heart surgery services at the new replacement facility on Black River Road,” Bailey said. 

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Tidelands Health is the largest health care provider in Georgetown and Horry counties. With three hospitals and nearly 50 outpatient locations that stretch from Andrews to North Myrtle Beach, Tidelands Health is improving lives across the Tidelands region.