White to retire as head of Myrtle Beach hospital

sjones@thesunnews.comJune 4, 2013 

— Doug White, CEO of Grand Strand Regional Medical Center, has announced he will retire, but will stay in his position until a replacement is hired.

White said in an emailed statement that he is retiring because he wants to spend time with family and friends and he wants to be able to enjoy life outside the hospital while he is still healthy.

White joined Grand Strand in 1995, overseeing significant expansion of the hospital, its services and its staff.

Since he arrived, 180 physicians have joined the medical staff, the hospital has grown from 172 beds to 269 beds and outpatient facilities including the South Strand Medical Center were opened.

The hospital’s heart surgery program has been ranked No. 1 in South Carolina by Healthgrades for the past four years and the hospital has received the only certification in the state as a Level II trauma center by the American College of Surgeons.

The hospital has expanded its emergency department and built a three-story heart center.

“Doug White is an extraordinary leader who has masterfully guided one of the area’s largest, most progressive employers during very interesting times,” Brad Dean, CEO of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce, said in an email. “He also invested substantial time in the United Way and provided a very fair, balanced and businesslike approach to its granting procedures. Doug’s day-to-day leadership will be missed but he’s surrounded himself with a cadre of smart, innovative professionals who are well-positioned to lead forward.”

Mark Kruea, spokesman for the city of Myrtle Beach, acknowledged the growth at Grand Strand – a hospital owned by the for-profit HCA system – under White’s tenure. He said he has only recently met White through activities with the United Way, where White has served as president, vice president, executive committee member and now the allocations chairman.

“Doug has done a great job of representing [the hospital] along the Grand Strand and statewide,” Kruea said.

A well-respected medical community is important to the Grand Strand, Kruea said, particularly in recruiting medical personnel and attracting new residents.

“It means we are a desirable place to live and work,” he said.

“His leadership in the medical industry has come amidst rapid growth in our local market,” Dean wrote, “and while GSRMC operates in the shadows of two major medical communities (Florence and Charleston), Doug ensured that our local medical healthcare services kept pace with changes in the industry and economy.”

Joan Carroza, Grand Strand Regional spokeswoman, said no timetable has been set to find a replacement for White.

She said that the HCA South Atlantic Division office in Charleston will handle finding candidates for the job. At least some of them will interview locally before White’s successor is chosen.

Contact STEVE JONES at 444-1765.

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