South Carolina hospital to close: 4 things to know

Fairfield Memorial Hospital in Winnsboro, S.C., the only hospital in its county, will close by the end of this year, according to The State.

Here are four things to know:

1. Fairfield Memorial Hospital serves patients in Fairfield County, which has nearly 23,000 residents. Although a date has not been set for the hospital to shut down, local officials have already taken steps to prepare for the hospital's closure.

2. Local leaders have strengthened the county's ambulance system, raised paramedics' wages and are working to buy buildings on Fairfield Memorial's property to lease back to physicians, according to the report.

3. Columbia, S.C.-based Providence Health, part of Brentwood, Tenn.-based LifePoint Health, will open a standalone emergency room about a mile away from Fairfield Memorial Hospital. Providence broke ground on the facility in early 2018, and it is expected to open in December.

"We are proud to collaborate with Fairfield Memorial Hospital and Fairfield County to preserve critical access to emergency care for residents of this community," Providence Health Market CEO Scott Campbell said in a press release in February. "This new facility will help transform the delivery of local healthcare services to a sustainable model that better meets the needs of this region."

4. The closure of Fairfield Memorial Hospital is part of a national trend of rural hospitals shutting down. Eighty-seven rural hospitals have closed since 2010, including four in South Carolina, according to researchfrom the North Carolina Rural Health Research Program.

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