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Grand Strand Health's history of delays cited in state denial of 52-bed hospital

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Grand Strand Health has until mid-August to appeal the Department of Health and Environmental Control's decision to deny their request to build a 52-bed acute care facility. File/Lauren Petracca/Staff

MYRTLE BEACH — Grand Strand Health was denied permission to build a $67.5 million, 52-bed hospital in Myrtle Beach because state regulators felt Tidelands Health and McLeod Health are more likely to meet the need for hospital beds in Horry County.

The denial letter said the state's Department of Health and Environmental Control issued an approved certificate of need request to Grand Strand for 32 additional beds on an existing floor of their main campus on 82nd Avenue North and U.S. 17 Bypass in 2019, but Grand Strand has not yet completed that project.

“In particular, Tidelands and McLeod's proposed timelines for completion of their projects, along with Grand Strand's history of delay in applying for and implementing (certificate of need) approval to add general hospital beds, contributed to the department's finding that the McLeod and Tidelands projects are more likely to meet the need for additional general hospital beds in Horry County,” the letter states.

A needs assessment showed Horry County needs 155 hospital beds to meet its current need.

DHEC issued the denial to renovate an existing building July 27. Grand Strand Health has 15 days to appeal the state's decision. Grand Strand Health did not return multiple requests for comment.

DHEC said although Grand Strand Health's timeline for the project was acceptable, the financial schedule it submitted is "longer than those usually experienced in the development of similar facilities or services."

The letter said that DHEC further finds that Tidelands and McLeod's projects “most fully comply" with state requirements and goals.

In Grand Strand's denial letter, signed by DHEC Certificate of Need Director Maggie Murdock and consultant David Fiorini, it cited McLeod Health's plans for a 48-bed facility in Carolina Forest and Tideland Health's Carolina Bay facility with 36 beds are more likely to meet the need than Grand Strand Health.

DHEC, however, approved Grand Strand Health's proposal for 59 beds, four operating rooms and expanded emergency department at its South Strand location.

The South Strand location, on U.S. 17 between S.C. 707 and S.C. 544, requested approval under a separate justification by DHEC that creates more hospital beds from an existing facility.

The law states that due to the low use and low cost of converting a hospital-based facility like a nursing home to general acute care hospital beds, a certificate of need is granted “regardless of the projected need for general acute care hospital beds.”

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