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MUSC christens Lancaster Medical Center

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Teaching-hospital system keeping staff, top management from Springs Memorial

By Stephanie Jadrnicek

It’s official. At 8:16 p.m. Thursday, the Medical University of South Carolina signed the closing documents to purchase Springs Memorial Hospital.
Friday morning, MUSC leaders welcomed hospital staff and elected officials in the lobby of the newly christened MUSC Lancaster Medical Center.
Dr. Patrick Cawley, MUSC Health CEO, said the mission of the Charleston-based medical university is to improve the health of all South Carolinians.
“With all the changes happening in medicine, if we’re not getting off the peninsula and coming into local places, we are not fulfilling our mission,” he said.
Lancaster was the second stop of four for the MUSC leaders since the institution also bought three other hospitals located in Chester, Florence and Mullins.
“We are not seeking an MUSC culture to squash the great culture in this community,” Cawley said. “What we’re looking to do is to take the great culture here and the great MUSC culture and synergize them to do something new and better.”
MUSC Health retained all Springs Memorial Hospital staff and management. Lancaster Medical Center CEO Page Vaughan, who has led rural hospitals for 35 years, said the transfer is a great opportunity.
“For everybody, the patients and the staff, this opens doors we couldn’t possibly have opened ourselves, not to the depth of services as MUSC,” said Vaughan, who became Springs Memorial’s CEO in 2017. “With the teaching components, the telemedicine and the elite services in cancer care, there’s going to be a lot more available to people in our community.”
Besides the state benefits made available to the Lancaster Medical Center staff, they also have access to services such as MUSC Virtual Urgent Care – free online visits with medical professionals via computer, tablet or smartphone.
Cawley said MUSC recognizes that a health care transformation is happening. People want high quality health care that’s reliable and less expensive.
“As a not-for-profit organization, we invest all of our resources back into the community,” he said. “It’s one of the advantages of linking up with MUSC.”
Another advantage for the local community is that MUSC is a teaching institution. Rather than only providing health care, Cawley said, the medical university educates and innovates.
Springs Memorial Hospital was owned by a Tennessee-based hospital company, Community Health Systems. It transferred patients with higher level medical needs to Charlotte hospitals. Cawley said Lancaster Medical Center will try to keep most of its patients local.
“If we can bring care from Charleston, either directly with doctors and nurses or through telehealth, we can keep people here so they don’t have to travel,” he said. “Maybe certain patients would come all the way down to Charleston, but at the same time there’s going to be some traveling to Charlotte, and we recognize that because it’s closer.”
Among the elected officials present were state Sen. Greg Gregory, Reps. Mandy Powers Norrell and Brandon Newton, Lancaster Mayor Alston DeVenny, Lancaster County Council members Charlene McGriff, Billy Mosteller and Steve Harper, Lancaster County Sheriff Barry Faile, Lancaster County school board Chairman Bobby Parker and Heath Springs Mayor Eddie Moore.
DeVenny said Springs Memorial had been the center of health care for the region, with a legacy of excellent physicians, nurses, medical technicians and caregivers. He said that legacy would continue by joining with the state’s premiere academic medical center, MUSC Health.
“Good science is fundamentally at the heart of good medical care,” DeVenny said. “And MUSC Health will bring the best practices and support to our local physicians and will give access to advanced technology and state-of-the-art health care.”

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Contact Stephanie Jadrnicek at (803) 283-1152.