Hospitals along the Grand Strand are expanding.
McLeod Loris Seacoast Hospital is moving 50 beds to a new patient tower being built at the Little River location. The tower should be open by summer 2018, according to McLeod Health Vice President of communication and public information Jumana Swindler.
Grand Strand Regional Medical Center was recently designated a Level I trauma center, which is the highest designation a hospital can receive, meaning it can treat the most severe traumas that come into the hospital.
Grand Strand is also adding a linear accelerator for radiation therapy, and is constructing a fifth floor on the main campus’ south tower to hold 24 beds for inpatient rehabilitation services.
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The South Strand Medical Center is adding 20 beds for a behavioral health program.
Grand Strand Health, McLeod Health and Conway Medical Center have all applied to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control to build emergency rooms in the Carolina Forest area, and DHEC initially approved plans for McLeod and Grand Strand.
However, each hospital appealed the decision and are waiting for the South Carolina Administrative Law court to make a ruling on who can build.
But why all the expansion?
According the U.S. Census, Myrtle Beach is the second-fastest growing metro area in the United States.
“That particular area has a demographic that is not as transient anymore, it’s a growing newcomer population and these are people that require continuous health care,” said Swindler.
A statistical study commissioned by McLeod found that there was a deficit of around 50 physicians in the Grand Strand area, and that assessment is helping drive the hospital’s expansion.
“It’s not just about bricks and mortar, it’s about the doctors that take care of you,” said Monica Vehige, administrator and chief operating officer at McLeod Loris Seacoast.
Grand Strand Health CEO Mark Sims said his hospital also uses health data and growth patterns to determine where the hospital expands.
“The population in the Grand Strand continues to grow in a fast pace,” said Sims in an email. “The fastest-growing age is the retirement age, but we also know there is significant growth in the pediatric age group. We consistently focus our growth on areas of significant need in our community.”