2 South Carolina hospitals agree to close, transfer services to new facility

Under an agreement announced Feb. 22, Lake City (S.C.) Community Hospital and Williamsburg Regional Hospital in Kingstree, S.C., will close and a new 25-bed critical access hospital will be built somewhere between the two communities.

Four things to know:

1. Under a letter of intent, Charleston-based Medical University of South Carolina would build, own and operate a $50 million hospital that would replace Lake City Community Hospital and Williamsburg Regional Hospital. The location for the new hospital has not been finalized.

2. Leaders said the replacement hospital is desperately needed. Williamsburg Regional Hospital has been operating out of a temporary facility since April 2016 after damage caused by more than 30 inches of rainfall rendered the original hospital building unsafe and unusable. Like many other rural hospitals across the nation, Lake City Community Hospital is facing financial challenges.

3. "Through our many affiliations with community and regional hospitals, and through our extended telehealth network, MUSC Health has established meaningful, life-saving collaborations and outreach across the state," MUSC Health CEO Patrick J. Cawley, MD, said in a press release. "The restoration of a critical access hospital in this rural community and the added connectivity to MUSC specialists and resources will benefit the lives of everyone in the area."

4. Officials said construction of the new hospital is expected to take between 24 and 36 months. The opening date is projected as fall 2022.

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