FLORENCE, S.C. -- The sale of Carolinas Hospital Systems to MUSC Health in November 2018 came with a name change in 2019. MUSC Health-Florence Medical Center became the hospital’s new name in March.

“We are very excited about MUSC’s purchase of the hospital,” said Vance Reynolds, MUSC Health-Florence and Marion Medical Center chief executive officer.

“I see great benefits for the community and Pee Dee region as a whole,” he said.

One of those benefits is a robust telehealth network, he said. He said the telehealth transplant program will be a significant investment in 2019.

Another benefit of the purchase is that it gives MUSC Health-Florence Medical Center patients easier access to second opinions and subspecialists, Reynolds said.

He said the hospital looks forward to the collaboration between physicians here and at MUSC in Charleston.

Shared electronic medical records is another benefit, Reynolds said. This will allow all of MUSC’s hospitals access to the same patient information, he said.

“Our quality of care is going to be better,” Reynolds said. “All physicians and all hospitals in the MUSC system will be connected.”

He said MUSC Health-Florence Medical Center soon will be able to provide pre- and post-op care for transplant patients. Reynolds said MUSC’s goal is to keep patients at home when possible.

He said being part of a teaching and medical research facility will also be a plus for Florence. He said he sees the possibility of medical residents coming to Florence to work in the future.

If this happens, he said, it should make it easier for the hospital to recruit new doctors because of its direct pipeline to MUSC.

Last year the hospital added eight new doctors: Dr. Gregory Palutsis, orthopedic surgeon; Dr. Charles Wooten, radiation oncologist; Dr. Sam Rahman, interventional cardiologist; Dr. Mo Bourji, non-interventional cardiologist; Dr. Vera Zaraket, gastroenterologist; Dr. Shauna Hemingway, OBGYN; Dr. Sutton Boyd, OBGYN; and Dr. Vincent Scott, urogynecologist.

Reynolds said most people don’t realize that for every new physician, at least four new jobs are created.

“MUSC has made the resources available for a smooth transition,” he said.

MUSC Health-Florence Medical Center’s goal is to be fully operational and have everything in place by Oct. 1, Reynolds said.

He said when there is an announcement of a sale, a lot gets put on hold. However, the hospital still managed in 2018 to renovate the women’s center, representing a $3.8 million investment. Another $3 million was invested elsewhere in the hospital, and the hospital is still committed to the free-standing emergency department, which represents a $10 million investment, he said. The free-standing emergency department will be in the west Florence area.

He predicts more investments in 2020.

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