GREENVILLE COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – A major push is gaining momentum to get an emergency department back in northern Greenville County.
The only one there was part of Prisma Health’s North Greenville Hospital. It closed in November of 2020 after leaders there said it was significantly under-utilized.
Instead, it was turned into a walk-in care clinic. Since then, county leaders have been working to bring one back.
Walking along the Swamp Rabbit Trail in Travelers Rest is an important part of Lois Koenig’s day.
Not only to get her dog exercise but also, stay healthy herself.
“That’s a matter of time, it could take for somebody to live or die.”
That’s relevant because there’s no longer an emergency room within a couple miles of she and her husband. A couple years back, they learned firsthand how vital that is.
“I believe they saved his life, that doctor and that CT scan and that emergency room right here in Travelers Rest,” Koenig told 7NEWS.
She said it started with a pneumonia misdiagnosis at a nearby clinic. It ended with her husband in Prisma’s North Greenville Hospital emergency room. That’s where they found, it was much more dire.
“He said, you have blood clots in your lungs and we’re sending you to the hospital,” said Koenig.
But now, that emergency space is no more. It closed in 2020 and has since been transitioned into a walk-in clinic.
“We have been very upset ever since it left,” Koenig said.
She’s not the only one.
“I get daily phone calls from people that are not happy because they don’t have an emergency room that they can go to,” said Greenville County Councilman, Joe Dill.
In fact, Greenville County Councilman Joe Dill told 7NEWS, it’s a problem that is just growing with the population.
That’s why he and state lawmakers like Rep. Mike Burns are working to create a space to fill the need. Councilman Dill said they want to create a medical campus in north Greenville County, with help from COVID relief funds.
“Right now, we’re at the point where somebody is going to give us an emergency room,” Councilman Dill said.
Rep. Mike Burns told 7NEWS, they want to work with Bon Secours St. Francis and MUSC on this all. Rep. Burns said they’re trying to get this plan in front of the finance committee by March 15.
A spokesperson with Bon Secours told us, they have not made any specific commitments to the project at this time but they do plan to continue to engage in related conversations.
You can find a full statement from their spokesperson here:
“Bon Secours has not made any specific commitments to the project at this time. However, we will continue to be engaged in these conversations about Greenville County’s emergency care needs as keeping the patients and communities we serve at the center of everything we do is our top priority. Access to care is important to us, and being a part of the collaboration on Greenville’s future needs is also important to us.”
A spokesperson with Prisma Health sent 7NEWS the following statement on the emergency department’s closure:
“Prisma Health constantly strives to serve our patients and communities, adapting to changing community needs.
The former emergency department space at North Greenville Hospital was repurposed into a walk-in care clinic that offers same-day urgent and scheduled care for insured, uninsured and underinsured patients. By providing this solution, Prisma Health hopes to have a long-term impact on improving community health.
We are committed to growing with the North Greenville community and hope to add more staff, more services and expand to evening and weekend hours. When fully expanded, the North Greenville practice will offer additional pediatric care as well as on-site specialty care, further enhancing healthcare for the residents of Travelers Rest.
North Greenville Hospital was converted back into a long-term acute-care unit last April, but, like other hospitals, continues to care for a limited number of COVID or COVID-recovered patients in separate areas.
We are constantly assessing the health needs of the community and are committed to providing the right care, at the right time at the right cost to North Greenville and all other communities we serve.”