McLeod Health plans $56 million hospital expansion at Carolina Forest campus | Carolina Forest

 McLeod Health plans $56 million hospital expansion at Carolina Forest campus | Carolina Forest

On Tuesday, McLeod Health said it would build a new $56 million, four-story, 48-bed hospital in the Carolina Forest area of Horry County, if the Department of Health and Environmental Control signs off. 

The project could be completed by the fall of 2023.

“Today is an exciting day for us at McLeod Health,” said McLeod Health Administrator Monica Vehige. ”At a time when access to healthcare is at the top of everyone’s mind, McLeod Health remains committed to our mission, which is to provide quality healthcare to the communities we serve.”

While McLeod is very early in the process and no hospital renderings are available, McLeod officials said that they would expect the design of the latest hospital to reflect the existing buildings on their Carolina Forest campus.

McLeod says that the proposed project “will not offer the full spectrum of services”, and they have not applied for labor and delivery or critical care beds.

“The planned $56 million hospital will have four operating suites and will be available for patients from our Carolina Forest emergency department that need continuing care,” Vehige said. “Additionally, patients from this community, who have various illnesses or require surgery, will find care closer to their home. “

The types of patients that the new hospital will serve are those needing be admitted for acute illnesses where inpatient care is required such as congestive heart failure or pneumonia. Others served will include those who need general surgical procedures, or patients that have come from the Emergency Department and require further care.

“The ongoing development of services at the McLeod Health Carolina Forest campus is intended to offer coordinated services across the healthcare continuum and to address the need for value-based services to ensure good health for the residents living in Carolina Forest and Myrtle Beach communities,” Vehige said.

McLeod Health’s Chief Operating Officer Donna Isgett has been with the hospital for almost 25 years and is thrilled to see the hospital continue to grow all over the county.

“I truly believe that we offer a different level of clinical care delivery to patients,” Isgett said. “It’s great for me to see that care delivery expand across the region.”

The announcement comes as Horry County was labeled as one of the fastest growing counties in South Carolina, according to the U.S. Census.

Earlier this year, DHEC developed the 2020 South Carolina Health Plan, which determined that Horry County will need 155 more hospital beds by 2024. The county already has 669 hospital beds, according to DHEC.

“The current and projected population of Horry County, as well as the seasonal spikes we experience due to tourism is a major influence on the growing demand for healthcare services in our county,” Vehige said. “Additionally, our current COVID-19 pandemic response demonstrated the insufficient hospital bed capacity in Horry County. Even without a pandemic, this shortage will become even more apparent as the population grows.”

This project will begin once the Certificate of Need (CON) is approved by DHEC. Under the South Carolina Health Plan, a CON is required for most capital expenditures, any change in the number of beds made available, or the construction of a new health care facility.

“The process is to a file an application that will be reviewed under the state health plan to see if it conforms and meets the needs of what DHEC has projected or needs in an area,” said McLeod Senior Vice President Dale Locklair. “We are confident that both our ambulatory surgery center and the hospital meet those needs because of the deficit we are seeing in Horry County and the projected deficit we will see in Horry County.”

With the addition of this new hospital and the services it will provide to patients, McLeod Health will be the only healthcare system with specialty services at all three Horry County Hospitals – McLeod Seacoast, McLeod Loris and McLeod Carolina Forest campuses.

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