Trident announces $13.5M project for ER expansion, other upgrades

Trident Medical Center announced Friday plans to expand its emergency department. The project, and several other upgrades, will cost $13.5 million.

Trident Health will spend $13.5 million to expand its emergency department and build two new operating rooms in North Charleston, the hospital system announced Friday.

In a press release about the project, Trident Health CEO Todd Gallati said “patient and physician demand” necessitated the expansion.

“This year we expect to care for more than 65,000 patients in our Trident ER and perform more than 4,000 surgeries,” he said.

The investment will also allow Trident to buy new CT scan imaging technology, and to expand and renovate its outpatient services registration area and the post-anesthesia care unit.

Dr. Karen Kriza, medical director of Trident Emergency Services, said earlier this year that the expansion was stalled for months by competitors who opposed the proposal. South Carolina’s Certificate of Need regulation — commonly called CON — allows other hospitals to protest such projects.

“We really need to expand our capabilities here. We need more rooms,” Kriza told The Post and Courier. “We’ve been trying to do that for about a year now, to expand on our own campus, our own facility, and we’ve been unable to do that because of the CON law.”

Trident Health wants state lawmakers to scrap Certificate of Need, which requires hospitals and health care providers to apply for permission through the state health department before building new facilities, renovating existing facilities or buying expensive equipment.

Most hospitals and the S.C. Hospital Association favor reforming the regulation instead of eliminating it altogether.

Construction for the Trident Health project will start later this year.

Reach Lauren Sausser at 843-937-5598.