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MUSC to purchase 3 South Carolina hospitals

June 25, 2021 GMT

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The Medical University of South Carolina will buy several hospitals and an emergency room in the state’s Midlands region, the state’s second-largest health system announced Friday.

The MUSC board voted to approve the purchase of two Providence Health hospitals in Columbia, the KershawHealth hospital in Camden and a freestanding emergency room in Fairfield County, according to a news release. All are currently owned by LifePoint Health, a for-profit company based in Tennessee.

The State Fiscal and Accountability Authority intends next week to vote on signing off on the deal by the state-owned health system, House budget chief Murrell Smith told The State newspaper.

Gov. Henry McMaster, one of four members on the state fiscal authority’s board along with Smith, didn’t commit to supporting the plan Friday. McMaster, who was briefed by MUSC several weeks ago on the possibility of the purchase, promised a full discussion next week.

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“Our goal is to see the people of South Carolina have ample medical care and attention,” McMaster told reporters. “MUSC is confident that this will do that. But I would like to see the details of the proposal as would, I’m sure, the four members of the Fiscal Affairs Authority.”

The MUSC purchase comes months after Prisma Health, the state’s largest hospital system, abandoned its plan to buy the same facilities, after an unfavorable court ruling and questions about whether the deal would give Prisma a near-monopoly over hospital care in much of the state’s Midlands region. The Prisma merger would have left the Columbia area with only two hospital systems, Prisma and Lexington Medical Center.

“Unfortunately, Lifepoint has made a decision they just are not going to continue to operate in South Carolina. So if Prisma can’t do it, I can’t think of a better system to provide those services than MUSC,” Smith told The Post and Courier, which first reported the MUSC deal.

If approved, the MUSC expansion would bring more than 400 new beds across its 1,600-bed system.

MUSC has previously announced plans to buy hospitals in Chester, Florence, Lancaster and Mullins. It is also working to build new hospitals in rural Williamsburg County, Lancaster County and Berkeley County.

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This story has been corrected to remove a sentence that erroneously said MUSC is working to expand its Charleston-based medical school.