New ER brings jobs, closer access to medical care to West Florence

FLORENCE COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – Officials with Carolinas Hospital System announced plans to build a new emergency department in West Florence.

The new 10,300-square-foot facility will sit on the corner of Twin Church Road and West Palmetto Street near the near soccer complex.

Kyle Baxter, the hospital's chief operations officer, said they chose the location because of the lack of nearby emergency care.

According to Baxter, most inpatient care centers are 15 to 20 minutes away from many residents in the area.

"Most of the inpatient services are towards the east of Florence and the growth in the area of Florence (has) been towards the west," Baxter said.

Baxter said the idea for a new free-standing facility dates back to December 2016. With the new soccer complex and housing developments like The Grove popping up throughout West Florence, the need for more emergency care became evident.

"It felt like being first beyond the soccer complex is a really big deal for the community and also for the hospital to have that opportunity," Baxter said.

It's an opportunity board of trustees member Jean Leatherman said is vital when it comes to time-sensitive incidents like strokes, especially for senior citizens.

"With our older population, I think that's going to be a critical factor in saving and protecting their health so they can live longer," Leatherman said.

The new center is an addition to the current emergency department that serves about 50,000 patients every year. Baxter says, right now, officials are finalizing the design plans but the center will have state-of-the-art life-saving equipment like CT scans, X-rays and radiology.

Baxter says the new center will cost $11 million and create 32 full-time jobs in the area.

"X-ray techs, stenographers, medical technologist for the laboratory, so it's going to be a mini, full-fledged emergency center," Baxter said. "We feel like the area is going to continue to grow in the community and it's going to grow even more because we're going to be one of the first businesses to go into that new development."

Baxter says construction is expected to begin in July and be completed by April 2019.

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