New Grand Strand hospitals will work to keep up with county population that could almost double

Grand Strand

HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control’s 2020 health plan says Horry County needs an additional 155 hospital beds and three of our local hospitals just announced plans in the works to help that need.

Tidelands Health is planning to build a hospital that will include an emergency department.

If it’s approved, it will be a 36-bed facility at the interchange of Highways 707 and 31, but they aren’t the only medical community in the county planning to expand.

“A large, large percentage of the growth in Horry County has happened really south of 501 and the Forestbrook, Socastee, Burgess area,” said Bruce Bailey, Chief Executive Officer of Tidelands Health.

It’s a population growth that Bailey says could almost double over the next 15 to 20 years.

“Our projections show about 150,000 people within a ten minute drive time of that location,” he said.

In fact, Conway Medical Center will move beds they’re not using to their planned new hospital in Carolina Forest.

Conway Medical Center filed a Certificate of Need on May 6 with the Department of Health and Environmental Control.

“We’ll be decommissioning beds from our current facility that are going under-utilized and moving them over here where there’s a faster growing census,” said CMC President and CEO Bret Barr.

A growth that Bailey says could hamper healthcare access if they don’t build.

“It’s going to create issues of access and convenience, accessibility,” said Bailey.

McLeod Health, who announced their new hospital plans last month, says they’ll have four new operating suites for those who need surgery.

“The need is here, and we as a health care system, with the help of our board, with the help of our medical staff, we will step up and meet those needs,” said Donna Isgett, Chief Operating Officer at McLeod Health.

Right now, Tidelands’ plans for a Socastee hospital that would employ around 140 people is needed, because they say more than 54% of the patients they take care of live in Horry County.

“Our hospital here in Murrells Inlet would not have enough beds to meet the needs,” said Bailey.

Conway Medical Center’s hospital could be complete by late 2024. All three hospitals are still waiting on approval from the state on their plans.

Grand Strand Medical Center had a plan to add 34 surgical beds approved by the state in March. The construction start date has been moved back on this project to start in April of 2021, according to GSMC’s director of public relations Katie Maclay.

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