McLeod Health assumed operations of the former Chesterfield General Hospital in Cheraw this week, the Florence-based nonprofit health care group announced.
The 59-bed acute-care hospital is now known as McLeod Health Cheraw. National for-profit hospital chain Community Health Systems ended its lease on Chesterfield General as of April 30.
McLeod Cheraw is only a 15-minute drive from Bennettsville, where Community Health Systems also ended its lease in April. The Cheraw facility joins five other McLeod Health not-for-profit hospitals serving a 15 county region with advanced heart, vascular, cancer, women’s and children’s services.
McLeod Cheraw Emergency Services will continue to be led by Dr. Gabe Simpson, who is board-certified in emergency medicine. The Newsom physician group of Cheraw Family Medicine will also be supporting the transition.
McLeod Health has also acquired or opened a number of medical practices in Bennettsville to strengthen family-focused health services there. These include an existing pediatrics practice, a general surgery practice and an existing primary care practice. Physicians are being recruited for the primary care and OB/GYN practices.
“Our services in Cheraw and Bennettsville are consistent with our not-for-profit mission,” McLeod Health President and CEO Rob Colones said in a statement. “The changing health care landscape makes it considerably more difficult for all hospitals, especially those in rural areas, to operate successfully. We believe that this affiliation allows McLeod Health the best way to continue serving the health needs for families in those communities, otherwise, both hospitals may have closed for good in April.”
McLeod officials said the agreement brings McLeod resources to the hospital and communities, including consolidating acute care to Cheraw for better financial stewardship and eliminating the continuing economic losses generated by the hospital in Marlboro County while strengthening health services in both communities.
McLeod will be looking at the operational analysis being conducted by a third-party consultant to evaluate the future opportunities for enhanced medical services at the facilities in Marlboro County, given economic and population growth in that region.
There are considerations for post-acute care, assisted living as an option and the possibility of a future freestanding emergency department and addition of primary care, McLeod officials said in a release.
McLeod Health currently operates five hospitals, including McLeod Regional Medical Center in Florence as well as McLeod Darlington, McLeod Dillon, McLeod Loris and McLeod Seacoast. McLeod also operates urgent care centers in Florence and Darlington, along with 60 medical practices in 10 counties.