June 14, 2020 | Post & Courier | Mary Katherine Wildeman
Trident Health is pumping tens of millions of dollars into its Summerville hospital to tap into the surrounding area’s fast-growing population, and it’s set to unveil the first phase of its investment Monday.
The newly revamped pediatric emergency department at Summerville Medical Center cost $24 million.
The project is the first among a number of updates to Dorchester County’s only hospital to be completed. It includes a 10-bed pediatric emergency department, new entrances and lobby areas. It is part of $100 million the parent company HCA Healthcare Inc. is sinking into the 124-bed Midland Parkway property.
Dr. Doug Holtzman, director of the pediatric emergency department at Summerville Medical, said the newly finished expansion gives the kids-care unit four additional beds.
Updates also include special accommodations, such as a room where lights can be dimmed for young patients on the autism spectrum who struggle with sensory overload.
In 2014, Holtzman’s second year at the health system, the pediatric emergency department saw slightly more than 10,000 patients. By last year, that figure had jumped to 18,000. In 2020, visits are off because of the coronavirus, Holtzman added.
Today, the hospital employs five physicians who are specialists in pediatrics. The only other pediatric intensive care unit in the area is at the Medical University of South Carolina, which opened a new $389 million children’s hospital earlier this year.
The Summerville expansion continues even as the coronavirus pandemic wreaks financial havoc on hospital operators, partly because they were forced to suspend many profitable elective surgeries and procedures.
Publicly traded HCA, which also owns the larger 445-bed Trident Medical Center in North Charleston, said it’s taking a number of cost-cutting actions as a “precautionary measure” as it braces for any adverse impacts. It also stopped offering investors guidance about future revenue and profits, saying it “cannot reasonably estimate the impact the COVID-19 pandemic will have on its operating and financial results.”
Click here for more information on Summerville Medical’s expansion plans.