Thursday, April 18, 2013
A legal appeal of Summerville Medical Center’s plans for a 30-bed expansion has been abandoned by Roper St. Francis Hospital.
The move may be important to Berkeley County: Roper officials say they are dropping the appeal in hopes that Trident Medical Center will in turn drop its opposition to Roper’s plans to build a facility at Carnes Crossroads.
The Dorchester dispute between Roper and SMC has been going on since 2010.
In November of 2010, SMC applied to DHEC for a Certificate of Need for a $26 million facility expansion to add 30 beds to the existing facility. In September 2011, DHEC approved and recognized the bed expansion as necessary to accommodate the population growth in Dorchester County, and a crucial move to meet community demand for quality health care.
Roper appealed DHEC’s decision, which delayed the project.
“I want to personally thank the residents of Dorchester County and our surrounding communities for their ongoing support during this appeal process, SMC CEO Lou Caputo said. “Your continuous efforts were extremely impactful; your voices were heard.”
Roper St. Francis Chief Strategy Officer Doug Bowling explained Roper’s decision Monday.
“Roper St. Francis has withdrawn our opposition to the Certificate of Need request for the addition of hospital beds for Summerville Medical Center,” Bowling said. “One of the purposes of our opposition was to make sure that Trident would not use its Summerville project to block a greatly needed Roper St. Francis Hospital at Carnes Crossroads, which they have agreed not to do.
“It is our most sincere hope that in turn, Trident and its parent company, HCA, will finally acknowledge the need for the hospital we are planning to build in Berkeley County and allow our project to move forward, just as the state and a judge have said it should.”
The decision by Roper could be the first positive action taken in a dispute between the two hospitals in Berkeley County that is approaching its four-year anniversary in June.
On June 26, 2009 DHEC approved two Certificates of Need for hospitals in the Carnes Crossroads community and in Moncks Corner, to be built by Roper and Trident, respectively.
Roper has long contended that the market can support both hospitals while Trident argues the market can support only one hospital in Berkeley County at the present time and that hospital should be Trident’s located in Moncks Corner.
As a result, Trident appealed DHEC’s decision.
Both hospitals plan for 50-bed hospitals, the first such hospitals to be located in Berkeley County since the old county hospital closed in Moncks Corner in 1974.