Final patients leave Bamberg County Hospital

Final patients leave Bamberg County Hospital

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It was a day of tying up loose ends and packing up for some, while others down the hall looked toward tomorrow and the opening of a clinic to serve area patients in need of urgent health care.

The Bamberg County Hospital officially closed on Monday despite past efforts to keep it financially afloat.

Theresa Johnson, Bamberg County Hospital director of support services, spent the day making sure that all remaining patients were taken care of.

“We transferred the last patient about 8:10 this morning to another facility,” Johnson said.

Johnson and a few other employees will continue to tie up loose ends at the hospital, including billing, patient records and fielding any questions.

“I’m sad it closed and hope the clinic meets the needs of the community,” Johnson said.

Susan Black Eichman and Julie Robinson are excited about Tuesday’s opening of the clinic. Eichman is manager of the Barnwell County Hospital as well as the rural health clinics in Blackville and Williston. Robinson is chief nursing officer and director of education with Barnwell Hospital.

Both will be assisting in the opening of the clinic, which they describe as “a Barnwell physicians’ office-based clinic.”

“We are working closely with Bamberg to pull this all together as one,” Robinson said.

Eichman spent the first four years of her nursing career working on the hospital’s halls.

“It is a sad day but I have learned so much working here and it gave me such a good foundation,” Eichman said. “All in all, we are excited about joining up with Bamberg County to provide services and it’s a good thing.”

Robinson said that the clinic will be open Monday through Friday, 2 to 8 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Information about the clinic can be obtained at 803-245-6700. More details on the clinic’s services will be announced at the opening on Tuesday.

As Denice Parler, executive assistant to the administrator at Bamberg County Hospital packed up her desk, she thought back about her 19 years on the job.

During her tenure, nine different administrators or chief executive officers came and went, one staying as briefly as two weeks. For Parler, the hospital’s closing brings back both professional and personal memories as she, like many other area residents, was born just down the hall in Labor and Delivery.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the urgent care clinic will be held Tuesday at 1 p.m. at the former hospital’s front entrance on North Street. The public is invited to attend.

Former Bamberg County Hospital patients can call 803-245-4321 to either speak with someone or to leave a message for a return call.

Contact the writer: 138 Nature’s Trail, Bamberg, S.C. 29003.

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