Tidelands Health hospitals open and serving the community; outpatient locations to close Monday and Tuesday
Tidelands Health hospitals are open and providing a full range of services to patients.
The health system, which operates Tidelands Waccamaw Community Hospital, Tidelands Georgetown Memorial Hospital and Tidelands Waccamaw Rehabilitation Hospital, is seeking a waiver from the medical evacuation order announced Thursday by Gov. Henry McMaster. If the state approves the request, Tidelands Health hospitals will remain open throughout Hurricane Irma.
Again, Tidelands Health hospitals are open at this time.
The health system has been aggressively planning for the possibility that Irma could strike the region. Tidelands Health leaders have been coordinating with local emergency management officials and have ordered additional supplies to support operations, among other steps.
Gayle Resetar, Tidelands Health chief operating officer, said remaining open and “sheltering in place” is a safer option for hospital patients.
“Patients who are hospitalized have complex medical needs,” Resetar said, “and a medical evacuation presents numerous challenges and risks. Our hospitals were built with severe weather in mind, and we have the resources we need on hand to safely care for our patients – everything from medication and food to back-up generator power.
“In addition, our doctors and nurses will tell you they feel a sense of duty to care for those in need. For our clinicians, health care really is a calling.”
Resetar said the health system is taking steps to reduce the number of patients in its hospitals — discharging patients who are medically cleared to return home, canceling elective procedures and closing outpatient locations.
On Monday and Tuesday, the health system will close its physician offices, Tidelands NextStep locations and other outpatient locations. Outpatient procedures, including surgeries and imaging, that were previously scheduled to take place at the health system’s hospitals Monday and Tuesday will also be postponed.
Patients whose appointments are affected by the changes will be proactively contacted by the health system to reschedule. There is no need for patients to call and check on their appointment status. Operational hours at many locations will be extended following the storm to accommodate rescheduled appointments.
Tidelands Health will also maintain essential staffing at its hospital locations. Non-essential personnel, such as business office employees, physical therapists, etc., will not be required to report to work Monday and Tuesday. The health system will provide meals and sleeping quarters for essential employees and physicians who work during the hurricane.
“We are our region’s safety net,” Resetar said, “and we take that responsibility seriously. In those critical hours before, during and after the storm, we want to be here for our community – providing the care and comfort the people of Georgetown, Horry and Williamsburg counties have come to expect from us.”
In addition to outpatient location closings, two community events scheduled in the coming days have been canceled to allow local residents and their families more time to prepare for Irma. Events that have been canceled are:
- The Community Health Day scheduled for Friday at the Belin United Methodist Church Family Life Center in Murrells Inlet
- Walk With a Doc scheduled for Saturday at the Grand Park Athletic Complex in The Market Common
Local residents are encouraged to follow the Tidelands Health Facebook page and the health system’s website, tidelandshealth.org, for status updates. Information is also available by calling 1-866-TIDELANDS.