BAMBERG COUNTY, S.C. (WJBF) – People who live in Bamberg and Barnwell Counties will once again have easy access to medical help.
Dirt is set to starting moving on a new $8.63 million dollar freestanding emergency medical center.
After the hospital in Barnwell closed, thousands of residents had to drive more than 40 miles to see a doctor.
“If emergency care is close by the chances to survive is much better,” said South Carolina District 91 State Representative Lonnie Hosey.
Hosey says a few months ago he found himself in need of emergency medical care and driving miles to a hospital was a nightmare.
“Emergency means emergency. You need to get to a hospital quickly when you have an emergency, and if that’s not conducive to your environment you have a problem.” Hosey told WJBF NewsChannel 6.
However, a new 24-hour Emergency Care Facility, between Denmark and Barnwell, may be the solution to the lack of access to healthcare there.
“You can’t always make it to Aiken, and stuff like that. You need it here,” said Bamberg resident Jatai Sanders.
The 20,000 square foot facility will include services such as CT scans, x-rays, ultra sounds and labs, and will have some holding rooms for patients.
Hosey says the challenge will be encouraging citizens to use the facility on a regular basis.
The State Representative says that’s part of the reason the Barnwell Hospital closed, because people were going elsewhere to see a physician.
“Well, I normally go to the doctor in Myrtle Beach, Orangeburg or Columbia.” Bamberg resident Travante James told WJBF NewsChannel 6.
So for this new freestanding emergency care facility to survive residents are going to need to use it.
“They will have to patronize this business for it to stay and if they do that, it’ll be enough business here for the facility to grow.” Hosey said.
“Are you going to use it a lot?” Asked WJBF NewsChannel 6’s Stefany Bornman.
“Of course I am. I don’t want to travel,” said Sanders.
“So do you think having one here, you’ll go to that one instead?” Asked WJBF NewsChannel 6’s Stefany Bornman.
“Yes, it will be more convenient,” James said.
The proposed completion date is August 2018.
The new facility is estimated to employ up to 50 people.
Press release from The Regional Medical Center in Orangeburg, S.C.
RMC to Celebrate Groundbreaking of New Freestanding ED for Bamberg and Barnwell Counties
ORANGEBURG, SC – The Regional Medical Center (RMC) will host a groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate the beginning of construction of a new freestanding emergency department for Bamberg and Barnwell Counties on Tuesday, August 8 at 10:00 a.m. at the construction site on Highway 70, east of Denmark, S.C.
The facility will include 24-hour emergency care with CT scan, X-Ray and ultrasound diagnostic imaging, lab and observation services. Located on 10 acres of land adjacent to Highway 70 between the cities of Denmark and Barnwell, the Emergency Department will be easily accessible for the populations of both Bamberg and Barnwell counties.
It is projected that construction will take 12 months. The name of the new emergency department is under development and will be announced in the near future.
Count on WJBF NewsChannel 6 to bring you the latest on this developing story.