Grand Strand Medical Center wants financial incentives from Myrtle Beach for several projects

Grand Strand Medical Center wants financial incentives from Myrtle Beach for several projects

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - More than 1,700 people work at Grand Strand Medical Center and the hospital is hoping to add to that number, according to CEO Mark Sims.

"We're talking about adding an additional 150 jobs, very good paying jobs, so that's obviously great for the local area," Sims said.

The hospital applied for financial incentives from the city of Myrtle Beach for four projects worth nearly $50 million, including an inpatient rehabilitation facility, a radiation therapy center, a medical office building, and an expansion of the residency program.

Myrtle Beach City Council passed financial incentives in January for businesses in certain fields that construct new buildings. They're eligible to get 2 percent of their total investment cost back through reimbursement of permit costs and city fees.

Grand Strand Medical Center has applied for that, which would give the hospital nearly $1 million back.

The hospital is hoping to recruit doctors by continuing to expand its residency program.

"There's a lot of data out there that shows that 60 percent of residents end up practicing within 50 miles of where they train," Sims said.

Right now, Grand Strand has 49 residents. Later this year, the hospital will have 70. Sims said they need extra space to do training.

The hospital also wants to open a family medicine residency clinic, which could end up being housed with the current internal medicine residency clinic in a medical office building the hospital is hoping to construct.

"Physicians want to be able to have proximity to the hospital. They want to be close to us," Sims said. "It's easier for their patients if they want to see somebody in their clinic. Then, if they need to go over to the hospital, they can just walk over."

Grand Strand Medical Center wants to dedicate the fifth floor of the south tower, which is currently under construction, to a 24-bed inpatient rehabilitation facility for trauma patients.

"For us to be able to take care of them throughout the whole continuum of care, that's important," Sims said.

A radiation therapy center, which will house a linear accelerator, is already under construction. That is also the only project that has been funded of the nearly $50 million in proposals.

"No question about it, the voucher the city of Myrtle Beach is offering is helpful to us," Sims said.

On Tuesday, Councilman Wayne Gray questioned if the multi-billion-dollar parent company, Hospital Corporation of America, really needs those incentives to do these projects.

Sims said securing funding for proposed expansion opportunities isn't guaranteed.

"When you're thinking about making an investment, anything you can do to make that investment more attractive is a good thing," he said.

Myrtle Beach City Council passed the incentives four to two Tuesday. Council will need to pass one more reading.

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