Tidelands Health plans new long-term acute care hospital in Horry County
Tidelands Health will seek state approval for the construction of a 24-bed long-term acute care hospital within the proposed Tidelands Health Carolina Bays Hospital in Horry County. Tidelands Health Extended Care Hospital, which will provide specialized care to medically complex patients, will be the first facility of its kind in the region.
The planned “hospital within a hospital,” representing a $17.6 million investment, will provide care to patients with advanced medical needs who require extended hospital stays to support their recovery following serious injury or illness. A certificate-of-need application for the project will be submitted to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environment Control next week.
At present, there are no long-term acute care hospital beds in Horry or Georgetown counties, with the nearest long-term acute care hospital more than an hour away.
“This new, specialized hospital is part of our longstanding commitment to advance health and wellness within the communities we serve,” said Bruce Bailey, president and CEO at Tidelands Health. “As the region’s population has grown so, too, has the need for this type of complex medical care.”
The proposed long-term care hospital will offer extended respiratory therapy, treatment for complications from diabetes, complex wound therapy and more. Its planned location within Tidelands Health Carolina Bays Hospital will provide patients seamless access to emergency care and other essential services.
The region’s need for long-term acute care is large and increasing. On any given day in 2020, an average 104 adult Horry and Georgetown County residents were hospitalized for more than 20 days, an increase of 36 percent compared to 2017, according to figures from the South Carolina Department of Revenue and Fiscal Affairs.
Of particular note, long-term acute care hospitals have proven extremely beneficial in the treatment of patients suffering from severe COVID-19 infections that require long-term hospitalization, as well as those with serious lingering pulmonary or cardiovascular symptoms stemming from COVID-19.
“Long-term acute care hospitals are designed to provide extended hospitalization for patients with complex medical needs, including those who require long-term mechanical ventilation to support their recoveries," said Dr. Thomas Chandler, a pulmonary and critical care specialist who serves on the Tidelands Health board of trustees. “Patients benefit from individualized, intensive treatment designed to help them recover and return home as quickly as possible.”
Pending DHEC approval, Tidelands Health Extended Care Hospital will add to the broad continuum of care available through Tidelands Health. The health system operates four hospitals and more than 60 outpatient care locations along the Grand Strand.
In September, the health system filed a certificate-of-need application for its fifth hospital, Tidelands Health Carolina Bays Hospital, a 36-bed acute care hospital to be located at the interchange of Highways 31 and 707 in Socastee. That application is pending approval by SC DHEC.