Lowcountry growth triggers need for $24 million ER expansion at Summerville Medical

This month Summerville Medical Center will commence a $24 million initiative to expand its emergency room services to ensure patient wait times don’t rise and to meet the Lowcountry’s ongoing population boom.

The project, to occur in phases, is slated to get underway April 10 and is part of a $100 million hospital investment to bring increased medical care to the Summerville area, according to a press release.

“Throughout the expansion our ER will remain open and providing the same level of exceptional care with short wait times to ensure our community is cared for quickly,” said Lisa Valentine, Summerville Medical CEO, in a statement.

According to the data provided by the Charleston Regional Development Alliance, the Charleston region is gaining about 34 new residents per day on average, forcing medical facilities to grow its services. Last year the Summerville Medical ER remained a revolving door of activity — ER staff treating more than 70,000 patients, hospital officials said.

The Summerville Medical expansion, which will increase ER capacity to 43 beds, including 10 pediatric beds, will also add to the hospital’s lab, pharmacy and dietary services. Currently, the ER houses 28 adult beds and six pediatric beds, hospital officials said. The project is expected to wrap up by August 2020.

Hospital officials said both the main ER and pediatric ER will not be affected by the construction effort and will continue 24-hour care to the community. However, over the next year-and-a-half new entrances will be setup across the property to reroute traffic. Signage will be in place starting April 10 to direct drivers. The hospital is also offering free valet services during construction.

The temporary ER entrance will be located on the east side of the building parallel to Burton Avenue. Anyone visiting outpatient services, registration and financial services should enter through the main hospital entrance, hospital officials said.

Summerville Medical also recently expanded its women’s and children’s services, last fall opening phase I of the $53 million project. But Trident Health System, which includes the Flowertown hospital, isn’t the only healthcare provider initiating expansion projects across the tri-county.

Roper St. Francis and Medical University of South Carolina have collaborated on constructing a new 43-bed, freestanding rehabilitation hospital, set to soon this year on the campus of the future Roper St. Francis Berkeley Hospital. According to Roper officials, the new 50-bed hospital will be located in Carnes Crossroads.

By 2022, MUSC is also expected to open a 128-bed hospital in Nexton, currently one of the tri-county’s busiest sites of ongoing development with close proximity to Interstate 26 and Highway 17. Construction on the $325 million project is set to start in 2020.

I've been a newspaper reporter for 8 yrs, covering everything from the President's arrival on Air Force One to sports, murder trials, a cat stuck in a wall, death of a UFO expert & meeting Nick Jonas (who disappointingly snubbed me). Send me story ideas!