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$28 million North Charleston facility could end up saving MUSC even more

Consolidated Service Center

A rendering shows the $28 million "consolidated services center" the Medical University of South Carolina is building in North Charleston to manage its supply chain and sterilize equipment. Provided/SensusOne

The Medical University of South Carolina is working with a private developer to consolidate its medical supplies and equipment sterilization unit under one roof in North Charleston. 

The $28 million project at 7771 Palmetto Commerce Parkway is expected to be completed in the second half of the year, according to an announcement this week.

The 106,500-square-foot building near Ashley Phosphate Road will take MUSC's supply chain off the peninsula and will service all of its facilities in the tri-county area, including the new children's hospital set to open in downtown Charleston later this year.

The private developer is SensusOne, which has offices in Michigan and North Charleston and focuses on building specialized health care facilities. The company's partners include Elliott Summey, chairman of Charleston County Council.

MUSC obtained authorization to finance the project with bonds last year from the state Fiscal Accountability Authority. SensusOne will be paid the $28 million once the facility is complete, according to the S.C. Office of the State Treasurer. The "consolidated service center" is expected to save MUSC $14 million in annual operating costs, the company said. 

It will be more than a warehouse to manage and store medical supplies.

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It will also sterilize all of MUSC's equipment. How and where the health system cleans its instruments is critical, as infections in hospitals are a top 10 leading cause of death, according to the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

"We are working with some of the most knowledgeable individuals in the industry to create an infrastructure that will provide the most efficient and cost-effective facility of this kind in the country," SensusOne principal Mike Piette said in a written statement. "This strategic collaboration has studied centralized sterilization in Europe and the U.S. to perfect the operating processes and equipment." 

Summey, one of three partners at the firm, said the new center will support not only MUSC's downtown hospitals but also numerous other planned facilities in the tri-county. That will eliminate the need to invest in separate sterilization units and other costly redundancies.

"I think hospitals all over the country are going to want to duplicate it," he said Tuesday. "It's going to create a lot of efficiencies."

A separate MUSC venture has ties to North Charleston and the Summey family. The city donated land to the health care organization for a new children's health ambulatory campus that's estimated to cost $57.7 million. MUSC leaders announced at a recent board meeting they would name it after North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey, Elliott Summey's father.

Both of the elected officials have said they are passionate advocates for the medical care MUSC offers children. The younger Summey said both of his children have been treated there. 

Reach Mary Katherine Wildeman at 843-937-5594. Follow her on Twitter @mkwildeman.

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