State leaders considering abandoned Pee Dee hospital as part of hospital surge plan

Adjutant General for S.C. National Guard discusses hospital surge plan, operations during outbreak

MARLBORO COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) - An abandoned hospital in Marlboro County could play a vital role in caring for patients if coronavirus cases in the state begin to surge, and more hospital space is needed.

During Gov. Henry McMaster’s press conference on Monday, the Adjutant General of the South Carolina National Guard Major General Van McCarty said they are looking into 18 facilities across the state to turn into “Tier 1” self-care sites as a part of a hospital surge plan.

Two of the facilities the state is considering are abandoned hospitals, including the former Marlboro Park Hospital in Bennettsville.

McLeod Health closed Marlboro Park about five years ago, but they still own the property.

In 2015, McLeod Health said the hospital operated at a $10 million loss the previous year and only served an average of 14 patients per day.

“We are working throughout the state, looking to have each of those areas that were identified earlier at a minimum one “Tier 1” and one “Tier 2” facility and we will certainly expand those as needed to accommodate what we believe may be spikes and surges,” said McCarty.

State officials hope by opening these facilities they can take the burden off larger hospital systems.

The South Carolina National Guard is following guidelines from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to ensure the compliance of the buildings.

All sites being considered must be ADA compliant with adequate restrooms, fire suppression capabilities, and free from lead and asbestos.

The South Carolina National Guard and South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control are working out staffing for the hospital surge plan.

“The staffing as identified by Dr. Colley. All of this will be done within the framework of the current hospital system. Any support type needs that are needed to build up these support type facilities, assets such as the national guard could be available to help with that,” said McCarty.

There is no official word on whether the Marlboro Park hospital will be used, but it has been identified as a possible location.

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