Grand Strand Health submits plans to expand two medical centers

Grand Strand Health eyes expansion, submits plans to DHEC

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - Grand Strand Health is planning to expand two local medical centers.

In an effort to meet the growing demand for hospital beds, Grand Strand Health has submitted two Certificates of Need to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control for the expansions of Grand Strand Medical Center and South Strand Medical Center, according to a press release.

The CON filings will seek approval to construct a new three-story inpatient bed tower at Grand Strand Medical Center. Additionally, plans are to expand and complete major renovations to its South Strand Medical Center, located at 5050 U.S.17 Bypass South, to create a full-service hospital with acute care beds, four operating rooms and expanded emergency room, the release stated.

Health experts across Horry County said access to care is one of the region’s greatest needs. DHEC’s 2020 South Carolina Health Plan estimates 155 additional hospital beds are needed to serve Horry County by 2024, according to officials.

Marsha Myers, chief operating officer of Grand Strand Health, said if approved, the projects would add a total of 111 acute care beds to ease the demand.

“Grand Strand Medical Center continues to experience significant growth in our inpatient services despite previous bed additions,” said Myers. “Placing a small number of beds at South Strand Medical Center will provide the needed capacity while improving the access to inpatient care within the county.”

Earlier this month, Grand Strand Health also broke ground on its new Carolina Forest ER, a $10 million project expected to be open in summer 2021.

Additional projects planned to begin in early 2021 include the build-out of Grand Strand Medical Center’s fifth floor, adding operating rooms, and expanding the existing food services area, the press release stated.

Pending CON approval by DHEC, both projects are estimated to result in over $215 million in capital invested.

As of Thursday, DHEC said there aren’t any updates to share on the proposals submitted by Conway Medical Center or Tidelands Health on the new hospitals they’d like to build, in the Socastee area and off of International Drive.

DHEC also said while COVID-19 has changed the way people think about and access healthcare now, when looking at permanent projects like this, they focus on long-term trends, not what is happening now.

“The intention right now to expand is to really meet the growth that we’re seeing in our community. If we look at the population growth that we’re seeing in Myrtle Beach, just historically and what we’re projecting to see over the next 5 years, about a 10 to 11 percent growth, we’re certainly seeing that in the demands for health care,” Myers said.

Myers also said, the new additions would add many jobs, but didn’t have an exact number yet.

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