South Carolina hospital closes after 63 years

Fairfield Memorial Hospital in Winnsboro, S.C., the only hospital in its county, closed Dec. 18.

Fairfield Memorial Hospital, which was open for 63 years, experienced financial challenges due to a dwindling population in its rural county, hospital CEO Suzie Doscher told TV station WACH. In August, leaders announced plans to shut down the hospital, which gave the community time to prepare.

Local leaders have strengthened the county's ambulance system, and Columbia, S.C.-based Providence Health opened a standalone emergency room about 2 miles from Fairfield Memorial Hospital. Providence hired most of Fairfield Memorial's employees for the new ER, according to WACH.

The closure of Fairfield Memorial Hospital is part of a national trend of rural hospitals shutting down. Ninety-three other rural hospitals have closed since 2010, and Fairfield Memorial Hospital is the fourth hospital in South Carolina to shut down, according to research from the North Carolina Rural Health Research Program.

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