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Florence hospital roundup: How are affected hospitals recovering after impact

Many are almost operational again, some services are still out and systems are managing a slew of canceled procedures, treating evacuated patients.

Beth Jones Sanborn, Managing Editor

SPRING LAKE, NC - SEPTEMBER 17: Dan Skidmoore (L) and Izeihar Eaton check on their business that is surrounded by the waters from the Little River. Photo: Joe Readle/Getty ImagesSPRING LAKE, NC - SEPTEMBER 17: Dan Skidmoore (L) and Izeihar Eaton check on their business that is surrounded by the waters from the Little River. Photo: Joe Readle/Getty Images

According to local reports, some of the hospitals who initially closed their doors in the face of Hurricane Florence are resuming operations.

South Carolina's Tidelands Health resumed emergency service at two of its hospitals on Saturday. Tidelands Georgetown Memorial Hospital and Tidelands Waccamaw Community Hospital resumed emergency care services Saturday morning after evacuating patients and closing. Some physicians and staff had stayed in place throughout the storm to enable a faster reopening as soon as it was possible.

Grand Strand Regional Medical Center reopened its Level 1 Trauma Center and ER Sunday, recalling key physicians and staff on Saturday. On Monday, Grand Strand Health reopened its remaining services at Grand Strand Medical Center, including elective surgery and outpatient services, as well as the South Strand Medical Center, including the ER and Behavioral Health Services. The North Strand ER and system physician practices are still closed.

As of Monday, Greenville Hospital System had seen 108 evacuees, including inpatient transfers as well as patients who reported directly to GHS via their EDs and urgent care facilities. As of Friday, Anmed Health in Anderson had at least 11 evacuated patients from other hospitals. 

Tenet announced Monday that its four hospitals in South Carolina were fully operational again. Coastal Carolina Hospital, East Cooper Medical Center and Hilton Head Hospital, all located in areas impacted by the storm, had no material damage. All three resumed normal operations over the weekend, and remained open during the storm.

East Cooper Medical Center in Mt. Pleasant, S.C., received an exception to the mandatory evacuation order issued by the Governor of South Carolina and remained open with an operational emergency room. Piedmont Medical Center did not take direct hit from Florence and and remained fully operational.

Eight surgery centers were impacted by the storm and are in the process of rescheduling cancelled cases, with plans to be operational as of Monday.

"We are incredibly proud and grateful for the dedication of our employees and their selfless efforts to care for patients at a time when many of them were facing uncertainty in their personal lives. Active preparation, rapid response and swift recovery are paramount to this organization, and I would also like to express my gratitude to our emergency response team for their diligence before, during and after the storm," said Ron Rittenmeyer, Tenet's CEO.

According to a CNBC report, Lifepoint Health has roughly 30 percent of its hospital beds in North and South Carolina in the path of the storm, the largest share of exposure of systems operating in the region. None of the facilities, however, are in coastal areas. 

Community Health has the next largest share, with 19 percent of the system's beds in Florence's path, then HCA Healthcare with 9 percent. These systems do have hospitals on the coast.

Tenet Healthcare has the lowest share in the region of the major operators. However Tenet has a number of facilities along the coast in areas such Charleston, Hilton Head, North Carolina, and Virginia Beach, Virginia. So the system stands to take a major hit depending on the severity of the impact, the report said.

Twitter: @BethJSanborn
Email the writer: beth.sanborn@himssmedia.com