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MUSC To Purchase 3 South Carolina Hospitals

File photo: Medical University of SC Hospital, Ashley River Tower, Charleston, SC
TheDigitel [CC BY 2.0] via Flickr
File photo: Medical University of SC Hospital, Ashley River Tower, Charleston, SC

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 sign off on the deal by the state-owned health system, House budget chief Murrell Smith told news outlets.

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.

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

The Associated Press