Plans for new hospital in Aiken County stalling

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Monday, July 21, 2014

AIKEN COUNTY, S.C. (WRDW) – Leaders at University Hospital say they have been planning the possibility of creating a facility in Aiken County.

Aiken County says that University Hospital filed a development permit with the county for an area of land in the Trolley Run Boulevard area.

“Now we don't have to drive all the way to Augusta to be able to get seen,” said Crystal Kirkland of Aiken.

The proposal would create a 50-bed, 86,000 square foot facility complete with an emergency room.

“Saves gas, saves time and it's better healthcare than you get over at Aiken Regional,” said Kirkland.

But a recent ruling by the South Carolina Supreme Court may be bringing those plans to a halt. That ruling said South Carolina DHEC which is responsible for deciding which parts of the state needs new hospitals must continue to make those decisions despite recent major funding cuts. Those funding cuts mean all those requests for new hospitals are backlogged here and across the Palmetto State. As a result, University’s CEO released the following statement:

"Prior to the South Carolina Supreme Court reinstating enforcement of the Certificate of Need law, University Health Care System was exploring the possibility of building a hospital in Aiken," said James Davis. "Our goal would be to bring University-quality care closer to the homes of the citizens of Aiken. Since the Supreme Court decision, we are re-evaluating our plans for the Trolley Run Boulevard site, as well as other opportunities to serve the residents of Aiken County."