Photo by Tony A. Dunn
North Greenville Emergency Services Plan Today, a group of state and local officials, along with a number of South Carolina health industry experts, announced a joint effort to evaluate and address the gap in emergency services for the North Greenville community.
The elected officials included State Rep. Mike Burns, Greenville County Councilman Joe Dill, Lieutenant Governor Pamela Evette and others. Also present were Matt Caldwell, President of Bon Secours St. Francis, plus Matt Severance and Dr. Ed O'Bryan of Medical University of South Carolina.
The purpose of the press conference was to announce that a North Greenville Emergency Services Work Group, comprised of leaders from Greenville County, MUSC and Bon Secours, has been formed and is actively meeting to explore options that address the needs of North Greenville residents with the help of local leaders.
Area residents lost access to emergency care services when Prisma permanently closed its North Greenville Hospital last year. In the Fall of 2020, Rep. Mike Burns sent a letter to several health systems in SC requesting help. MUSC's president and Bon Secours St. Francis' president both responded with great interest in addressing the need. In December, Rep. Burns hosted a meeting to bring North Greenville legislators, representatives from Greenville County, MUSC and Bon Secours to discuss the issue. From that meeting, a group of partnering institutions agreed to examine the issue more thoroughly.
"This is an exciting day for our constituents in North Greenville," stated Rep. Burns. "This is a growing area, with the population in Travelers Rest projected to increase by 14.1% over the next several years. It is also home to two universities, Furman and North Greenville. Plus, the Swamp Rabbit Trail brings more than half a million users each year to North Greenville."
Rep. Burns continued, "A lack of a local emergency care option puts current residents at risk and affects the future of local business. Access to care is something that businesses consider before choosing a site, and families consider before choosing their home."
To address this unmet health care need, Burns reached out to, and gained support from, Greenville County Council chairman Willis Meadows, and council members Joe Dill and Steve Shaw, representing the northern part of our county. He also got support from State Rep. Garry Smith, chairman of the Greenville County Legislative Delegation, plus other local and state political leaders, that include Travelers Rest Mayor Brandy Amidon, Greenville County Legislative Delegation members Patrick Haddon and Tommy Stringer, and State Senators Tom Corbin and Dwight Loftis.
"Today, I am happy to share with all of you that our efforts have been successful. Two health systems have stepped up to engage in conversations that could help our community-Bon Secours St. Francis and the Medical University of South Carolina," added Rep. Burns.
Matt Caldwell, president of Bon Secours St. Francis, speaking after Rep. Burns, stated, "Throughout its history, Bon Secours has been known for its exceptional personalized care. Health care is complex and continuously changing. Keeping the patients and communities we serve at the center of everything we do is our top priority. We look forward to playing an active role in the discussions and evaluation of Greenville's emergency care needs."
Greenville County Council member Joe Dill, whose district is North Greenville, including Travelers Rest, stated, "Over the years, the county has worked diligently to provide the needed emergency services and law enforcement services in the area. Thanks to our collective efforts, we are addressing this huge gap in care for our residents. Greenville County will be a partner, as well as Bon Secours St. Francis and the Medical University of South Carolina to bring emergency care back to North Greenville. We are actively addressing facility and equipment needs and have started the process of securing funding."