Say goodbye to Providence and hello to MUSC after the Charleston-based health care system bought two hospitals in Columbia.
The Medical University of South Carolina is completing its purchase of four hospitals in the Midlands and is rebranding the facilities with new names that incorporate its well-known acronym.
MUSC — one of the oldest medical schools in the South after being founded in 1824 as a small private college — bought two Providence Health hospitals in Columbia, another facility in Fairfield County, and KershawHealth Medical Center in Camden in June. The $75 million deal also includes the acquisition of any affiliated physician practice locations.
On Monday, ceremonies were held at each of the hospitals, which will now be known as:
▪ MUSC Health Columbia Medical Center Downtown (formerly Providence Health on Forest Drive in Columbia)
▪ MUSC Health Columbia Medical Center Northeast (formerly Providence Health Northeast on Corporate Boulevard in Columbia)
▪ MUSC Health Fairfield Emergency and Imaging (formerly Providence Health — Fairfield in Winnsboro)
▪ MUSC Health Kershaw Medical Center (formerly KershawHealth in Camden)
The Providence sale includes the hospital’s main campus — known as South Carolina’s “heart hospital” — on Forest Drive plus its 74-bed full-service hospital near Farrow Road and I-77 and its Winnsboro emergency room that opened in 2018.
Providence was Columbia’s Catholic hospital for 77 years until LifePoint Health of Tennessee purchased the Midlands facilities in 2015.
“Our objective is and has always been positioning our facilities for success so that we can fulfill our purpose of delivering high-quality care close to home,” Providence Health and KershawHealth market chief executive officer Terry Gunn said in a news release.
KershawHealth has been an affiliate of MUSC Health since 2015 and it includes an acute care hospital in Camden and an urgent and outpatient center in Elgin.
The acquisition by MUSC gives the health care system a larger footprint in South Carolina and in the Midlands region, where it will join Prisma Health and Lexington Medical Center.
“Incorporating them into our regional hospital network is another step toward fulfilling MUSC’s charge: to provide the right care in the right place at the right time to every patient and family that we encounter,” said Patrick J. Cawley, the CEO of MUSC Health and vice president for health affairs for the medical university.
Cawley said the 2,000 LifePoint Health employees at the hospitals were offered to stay once MUSC took control, the Post and Courier reported.
Last year, Prisma Health, which owns hospitals in the Columbia area and Upstate, attempted to buy Providence and KershawHealth. But that deal — opposed by some state lawmakers who were concerned about layoffs and patient services — fell through, with Prisma saying the merger was scrapped because of “a complex regulatory path, significant delays and challenges with the Federal Trade Commission and state regulatory authorities. ... (making) it prohibitive to move forward.”
Allowing the Medical University of South Carolina to buy the Providence hospitals and KershawHealth gives the Legislature more oversight over the hospital, which is public.
In 2019, the public, nonprofit health system expanded across the state by buying four community hospitals in Lancaster, Florence, Marion, and Chester.
MUSC and its affiliates have collective annual budgets of $3.4 billion. With more than 19,000 employees across its system, MUSC is one of the largest employers in the Charleston area.
The medical school includes a teaching hospital along with six colleges that, combined, have more than 1,800 faculty members who educate and train around 3,000 students and 800 residents each year.