FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) - HopeHealth now has a brand-new medical plaza serving the Florence area and the Pee Dee.
The 50,000-square-foot building will expand to provide more services in addition to the primary care it already offers.
Phase two of construction began mid-May, while the new facility opened its doors to patients in February 2016. The new location is off North Irby Street, where a recycling plant used to sit.
HopeHealth broke ground on the property in 2014. After a long time coming, it's finally up and running, with three other HopeHealth locations consolidated to the main plaza. The Palmetto location will remain the same, with a brand new substance abuse program HopeHealth just received a grant for.
The partnership is with the city of Florence, the Emergency Protection Agency, the state Department of Health and Environmental Control, Bush Recycling and Doctors' Bruce and Lee Foundation, which helped fund and complete the first phase of construction.
"The second phase we are building completely on our own and financing an additional 37,000 square feet," said Carl Humphries, HopeHealth's chief executive officer. "It's between $5 and $6 million on that project."
The new phase will add chiropractic care, dental facilities, diabetes care and woman's health.
Humphries said it's a place where people from all walks of life can receive car.
While it's not a free clinic, there are payment plans or a sliding fee scale for those who do not have health insurance, along with a triage nurse specifically to help find a primary care provider for patients.
"And we also treat people who have great jobs and great insurance," Humphries said. "We have a lot of Medicare patients and that's one of our emphasis here, to take care of the elderly through our special programs with Medicare."
The city of Florence believed the expansion was just the right thing for the area. Staff at McLeod and Carolina hospitals refer those people to HopeHealth who don't need emergency room care.
Drew Griffin, Florence City Manager said, "That is, by far, the largest cost associated with medical providers," said Florence City Manager Drew Griffin. "So having a HopeHealth facility in proximity to downtown - being able to see it from the five lane road - it really does provide a good opportunity for people."
People can now find all of their primary care services, a full drive-thru pharmacy a lab and an x-ray room.
Phase two of construction is expected to be done by mid-summer of 2017. HopeHealth will be recognized at the Municipal Association Annual Meeting this July in Charleston after Florence officials submitted an award for the partnership.