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RMC

Regional Medical Center CEO Charles Williams speaks with residents during a town hall meeting at the Holly Hill Depot on Monday.

HOLLY HILL -- The Regional Medical Center is aiming to place a new building in Santee and needs the public’s input, hospital CEO Charles Williams said Monday.

“We want to build something you want and need,” he said.

RMC hosted a meeting at the Holly Hill Depot to give hospital officials an opportunity to hear from the town’s residents about what they may envision for the Santee facility and to express any other concerns.

Williams said that the $3 million allocation from the 2016 Capital Project Sales Tax for improvements at the Santee Recreation Complex will be used toward RMC’s project.

“We have not started designing it yet,” Williams said.

The estimated timeframe for completion, from start to finish, is approximately one year, he said.

He noted the facility will be open, at the earliest, in the fall of 2020.

He also told the crowd that he and hospital officers want to get feedback from residents about the services they hope the new site will provide.

Clive and Kate Copsey of Holly Hill were among a few residents who expressed their desire for an urgent care center in the town.

The nearest urgent care center is in Santee and operates 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

Kate Copsey noted that a copperhead snake bit a Holly Hill merchant on Sunday night and the closest RMC urgent care site isn’t open on Sunday.

Williams noted that RMC’s primary care centers may soon begin carrying anti-venom, a medication used in the treatment of various venomous bites and stings.

He noted that the numbers of snake-bite patients reporting to RMC’s emergency department is much higher than this time last year.

Williams said that opening an urgent care center in Holly Hill is not in RMC’s immediate future.

He told the crowd it took 11 months to fully staff the Bamberg-Barnwell Emergency Medical Center, which opened this past April.

Williams had concerns about fully staffing a facility in a rural area, such as the Bamberg-Barnwell site. He said staffing such facility in Holly Hill may face such challenge.

Holly Hill Mayor William Johnson said that there are nearby towns and cities, in addition to Holly Hill, where RMC may find employees to staff an urgent care clinic in the town.

Resident Billy Chavis thanked Williams for the pediatrics provider available at the Holly Hill primary care center.

Chavis expressed concerns about trying to reach staff by phone at the Holly Hill primary care center because RMC has routed those calls through an automated call center.

Williams said he’ll consider the inconvenience of the call center for patients and make changes.

Resident Betty Pelzer said patients would be more willing to tell their health care providers more information about their symptoms if a couple of minutes of personal care and trust could be established.

Williams said he reminds employees of the importance of trust, sustainability and community.

“At the end of the day, if you don’t trust us, why would you use us?” he said.

In addition to hosting town hall meetings, Williams said RMC officers also receive input from the board of trustees and the Patient-Family Advisory Council.

RMC will host additional town hall meetings for the public throughout Orangeburg and Calhoun counties.

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Contact the writer: mbrown@timesanddemocrat.com or 803-533-5545. Follow on Twitter: @MRBrownTandD

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