McLeod Health will continue expanding its Carolina Forest complex by adding an outpatient physical therapy center there this spring, hospital officials said.
The medical care provider also plans to move its pediatric physical therapy program to the new rehabilitation center, which will be located on the first floor of the second building at McLeod’s International Drive campus. Hospital leaders said the population growth in Carolina Forest increasing the demand for services.
“That’s where all the young families are,” said Coreen Konopka, director of physical therapy for McLeod Seacoast, who also lives in The Forest. “So we felt the need to serve the Carolina Forest community.”
The children’s program provides physical, occupational and speech therapy. McLeod will also serve adults at the rehab center.
Along with the physical therapy program, the hospital expects to open an emergency department in the first floor of their first building by the summer.
“A lot of patients don’t access health care until they’re in an emergency situation,” said Monica Vehige, administrator of McLeod Seacoast. “So it’s not just about the emergency room for us. It’s about being there for a patient in the emergency and then getting them to the specialist or the primary care that they need. And so we already have primary care down in Carolina Forest. We have cardiology down in Carolina Forest and some other specialists down there. And so it’s about really connecting those patients to a physician.”
McLeod received approval for the emergency department in August when the hospital agreed to drop its legal fight with Grand Strand Medical Center, which is also building an emergency department in Carolina Forest.
The agreement allowed both providers to continue with their construction plans.
“It’s not about McLeod winning or losing,” Vehige said. “It’s about the patients winning and about the community winning. … Competition is good in Horry County. As hospitals, we’re not worried about competing. Again, the consumer wins. Competition makes everyone better. It keeps everyone on their toes.”
McLeod eventually plans to construct seven buildings at the International Drive complex, but Vehige said the hospital is content with the two buildings it has there for the foreseeable future.
“We are good with where we are now in Carolina Forest,” she said. “As demand continues to grow, we will then develop buildings three, four, five, six and seven based on what other needs are in that community.”