Providence Hospital announces expansion plans and renovations

COLUMBIA — Providence Hospital announced its plans to expand the bed capacity at the Providence Heart Institute and renovate areas housing other medical and surgical services at its downtown campus.

The project includes building two additional patient floors for the Heart Institute to house 48 new beds. Plans also call for the expansion and relocation of the intensive care unit with the addition of six new beds. The hospital will make improvements to the front entrance for easier access into the hospital and make several other external and internal modifications for patient, physician and staff convenience. The cost for the 113,000-square-foot expansion and renovation is estimated at $29.7 million.

The hospital has filed a certificate of need application for the 54 new beds and other expansion plans with the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control for permission to proceed.

“We have more patients than beds,” said Steve Purves, president and chief executive officer. “As a tertiary care referral center for cardiovascular care, Providence serves a growing and aging population from across the state. There have been times when patients have had to wait in the emergency room — some for as long as 36 hours — for inpatient beds to become available. This serious overcrowding is unacceptable for a hospital that has a reputation for putting patients first,” Purves said.

Purves commended state health planners for recognizing the need to respond to bed shortages. The State Health Plan adopted by the DHEC board gives the agency added flexibility to approve justifiable bed expansions.

“The bed shortage is not confined to Providence Hospital,” Purves said. “The aging of the population is a development that hospitals in South Carolina and around the country are addressing.”

If DHEC approves the project, Providence will operate 247 beds at its main campus on Forest Drive. It is expected to take 24 months to complete all construction.

Factors other than a critical bed shortage also necessitate expansion. The last major renovation to the 60-year-old hospital was in 1989. A long-range strategic plan adopted by the board in 1993 anticipated the need for renovation and expansion.

“In order to continue meeting our patients’ needs, Providence must add beds and improve its facilities to remain on the cutting edge of patient care,” Purves said.