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Surgery center plans reviewed; RMC, 2 doctors have separate proposals
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Surgery center plans reviewed; RMC, 2 doctors have separate proposals

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The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control is reviewing plans to construct an ambulatory surgery facility in Orangeburg. One set was submitted by the Regional Medical Center, the other by two Orangeburg doctors.

The doctors – general surgeon and RMC board member Dr. Dion Franga and radiologist Dr. Amit Sanghi -- submitted a certificate of need application to DHEC in April outlining their plans to build a $12.5 million center.

They want permission to construct a one-story, 16,640-square-foot facility with two operating rooms. The facility would be located behind the existing South Carolina Surgical facility at 3045 St. Matthews Road.

The doctors are a part of Ambulatory Partners (AP) LLC.

RMC submitted its CON application about a week after the doctors. The hospital is seeking permission to build its own ambulatory surgery center.

The hospital plans to renovate its existing 10,000-square-foot Dialysis Access Institute facility to make it into a surgery center.

DHEC must issue a certificate of need before certain types of health care acquisitions, expansions and new facilities are allowed. The process is intended to reduce the duplication of services.

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The deadline for DHEC's staff to make a decision on the applications is Saturday, Oct. 24. A written staff decision will be issued for each application, DHEC spokeswoman Laura Renwick said.

Franga has said he wants to build an ambulatory surgery facility to fill a need in the Orangeburg community

The out-migration of Orangeburg residents seeking care elsewhere is 67%, with many people traveling to Charleston, Lexington and Richland for services, he has said.

The doctors’ center would offer ophthalmology; retinal surgery; gastroenterology medicine; orthopedics; urology; ear, nose and throat; radiology and general surgery. The surgery center plans also include in-house imaging testing such as MRI, CT scan and general diagnostic imaging.

RMC has received support for its surgery center plans from Orangeburg, Calhoun and Bamberg counties

The hospital has cited the need for the center to help offset declining reimbursements, surgical volumes and lack of taxpayer support.

The hospital's surgery center would include six operating rooms offering gastroenterology, orthopedics, otolaryngology, urology, podiatry and general surgery.

The hospital also notes the surgery center would "achieve cost containment" and outpatient services would be more readily accessible for patients.

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