After two years, Grand Strand Medical Center is still waiting for approval to build mental health facility

Grand Strand Regional Medical Center's new pediatric wing keeps family's together, close to home (Image 1)

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW)-    A bill in the South Carolina Senate could make it easier for hospitals to expand.

Last month, we told you about the need for more mental health facilities in our area. Grand Strand Medical Center applied two years ago for permission to build a new psychiatric wing.

Any hospital or medical facility looking to grow must first obtain a Certificate of Need from DHEC. It’s supposed to help regulate the cost of healthcare and prevent any duplication of services.

In August 2014, Grand Strand Medical Center applied for a Certificate of Need to build a $6.5 million psychiatric facility. DHEC eventually approved the project, but it was appealed.

“It’s been tied up in litigation since. We still don’t have any indication that we’re allowed to build in-patient psychiatric services for these people,” said Emergency Medical Director Dr. Pangia.

He says myrtle beach is growing rapidly and medical facilities can’t keep up. Grand Strand Medical Center requested 20 additional psychiatric beds.

“We have people who have mental health issues we can’t take care of properly because we’re not allowed to build the in-patient psychiatric services that we need,” explained Pangia.

That’s not all. The hospital has been waiting two years for DHEC’s permission to build an inpatient rehab center.

“We are one of the busiest stroke centers in the entire state,” said Pangia “We are one of the busiest trauma centers in the entire state, yet we can’t rehabilitate our trauma patients in our hospital.”

Last year, the House passed a bill to end the state’s Certificate of Need program by January 2018. The bill even got Governor Nikki Haley’s support. It currently sits in the Senate.

Tideland’s Health is currently waiting on a Certificate of Need to build a new surgery center in Georgetown. A spokesperson for Conway Medical Center told News 13 over the phone they had no trouble getting a Certificate of Need to build additional operating rooms.

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