HopeHealth Florence expansion coming this summer

HopeHealth Florence expansion coming this summer

FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) - HopeHealth is expanding who it serves in the Florence area with a brand new 38,000-square-foot building, and it's happening much sooner than expected.

Phase two of construction began in 2016 and was set to built five to 10 years down the road. However, after phase one was complete, HopeHealth was already out of space.

The expansion on Irby Street at the main headquarters started out with 48,000 square feet and offers outpatient medical care, internal medicine, family medicine and pediatric care.

Regardless of someone's health insurance status, Hope Health can serve them.

"We will see Medicaid patients, Medicare patients or completely uninsured patients," said Deena Hilton, chief operations officer at HopeHealth. "Private insurance patients are welcome as well. If you are uninsured, then we base your fees on your income and household size."

The phase two facility will house a larger pediatric practice to be more kid-friendly, as well as infectious disease programs, Latino services, women's health and pain management. Additionally, the new complex will expand on diabetes, and health and nutrition education.

"The two biggest needs we have here is for diabetes education or weight management, but we also see people for high cholesterol," said Kitty Finklea, the nutrition and diabetes educator at HopeHealth. "They might have high blood pressure, anything related to what they are eating."

Finklea added HopeHealth also just recently partnered with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control to offer cooking classes at the new café.

"The physician will see the need for nutrition or diabetes education and since we are in the same building, it will make the referral process more streamlined," said Finklea.

HopeHealth employs round 360 people at the 12 different sites, including 70 at the Irby Street location. Hilton said once phase two is fully staffed, there will be an additional 90 employees.

Funding for phase one came from a $5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, according to Hilton. Along with donations, and pharmacy and revenue dollars, phase two is funded solely by HopeHealth's bank account.

Hope Health officials said there may already be talk about phase three. They also hope to take over the property right behind Dargan Street that is currently owned by the city, with the goal of offering more parking and medical care programs.

Construction is on track for phase two to be complete this summer.

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