By: Kristen Hegel
“This is a privilege and a responsibility, one that we don’t take lightly,” said Chris Hummer, president of Carolinas Medical Center-Pineville, after hearing news that CMC was chosen to beFortMill’s new hospital. “We’re privileged to be in the position to improve the health status ofYorkCountyfor a long time.”
After a seven year hospital war amongCarolinasMedicalCenter,PresbyterianHospital, andPiedmontMedicalCenter, a decision has been made. The DHEC (Department of Health and Environmental Control) chose CMC because it was the best fit for the community. “These criteria include items such as community need, financial feasibility cost containment and adverse impact upon other facilities,” Beverly Brandt, chief of health facilities and services for the SC DHEC, said.
“Clearly the preference is for the Carolina Healthcare System,” Hummer said. He also added that he believes CMC was selected because of the respect the center has earned from the people in surrounding areas. The hospital, Carolinas Medical Center- Fort Mill, will be built off Interstate 77 andSutton Road. The cost of the 64-bed hospital will total roughly $77.5 million.
PresbyterianHospitalandPiedmontMedicalCenter, the losing hospitals, still have 15 days to appeal the DHEC’s decision, which further prolong the fight for the right to build a hospital inYorkCounty. “[The decision] was truly disappointing for our physicians and employees who serve the healthcare needs ofYorkCountyevery day,” Piedmont Medical Center President and CEO, Charles Miller, said. “It will have major negative implications on bothPiedmontMedicalCenterand the entire healthcare system and economy ofYorkCounty.”
“We’re very disappointed with the state’s decision to deny our application. We strongly believe that Presbyterian Hospital Fort Mill best met the criteria for the new hospital, and we’re disheartened on behalf of the 10,000 area residents, physicians and community leaders who expressed their support for our proposal,” Senior vice president for Presbyterian Hospital, Paula Vincent, said. “After a careful review of the decision, we will determine an appropriate course of action, which could include an appeal.”
Both Piedmont Medical Center and Presbyterian Hospital have hinted that they are not done fighting yet. “Obviously, I assumed the other two applicants will explore their appeals,” Hummer said. “We have to be careful how fast, how far, we proceed. We need to understand what the appeals process allows.”
FortMillMayor Danny Funderburk is awaiting a resolution so the hospital can finally be built. “I’m just trusting that the proper diligence was done,” Funderburk stated. “I’d certainly like to see the resolution of any appeal process, so we can get the hospital built. Regardless of which hospital had gotten the award, I would have liked to have seen a short, abbreviated or non-existent appeal process so we can get that hospital built.”
In an interview with Fort Mill High Health Science teacher Martha Pietkiewicz, she said it would be good for the community. “If CMC builds, they’re more student friendly and it would be a great opportunity for students to get in the hospital setting,” Pietkiewicz said.
York County is in need of a hospital, and not only for the growing population to seek close by health care, but to help boost the economy. It is estimated that once the hospital is built, it will generate millions of dollars for the area. Though it seems Fort Mill’s hospital has been settled, if the losing hospitals do decide to appeal, the rest is yet to be seen.