Charleston’s Growing Medical Community An Economic Asset for the Region

July 10, 2017

We recently shared background and information regarding Charleston’s new “One Region” plan for economic development. While technology and manufacturing are two areas of potential economic growth for Charleston that get a lot of attention, there’s one growing sector that is sometimes overlooked. The quality and growth of our medical community is really worth talking about, because not only will it attract jobs but it also will help enhance Charleston’s appeal as an attractive place for people to retire or move to.

There are three players in the Charleston medical community that provide good examples of the quality and growth that is occurring in this sector.

Medical University of South Carolina

Charleston is fortunate to be home to several hospital systems, including the medical and educational resources of the Medical University of South Carolina. Founded in 1824 as a small medical college, MUSC has expanded to a state university with a medical center and six colleges for the education of a broad range of health professionals, biomedical scientists and other health-related personnel. Its campus is located on more than 80 acres in the city of Charleston, with an overall population of about 13,000 clinicians, faculty, staff and students.

MUSC is among the region’s healthcare organizations that are expanding in order to keep up with the Charleston area’s growth. In addition to constructing a state-of-the-art new facility for its top ranked Children’s Hospital, scheduled to open downtown in 2019, it is also branching out beyond the Charleston peninsula to serve patients in the region’s emerging centers for growth. Early this summer it opened its first community health care center in Berkeley County. MUSC Health Carnes Crossroads is located in the heart of the growing Summerville region in the new master planned community of Carnes Crossroads.

Roper St. Francis

As South Carolina’s only not-for-profit health care system, Roper St. Francis is another exceptional and growing medial resource for residents. Anchored by Roper Hospital (downtown Charleston), Bon Secours St. Francis Hospital (West Ashley) and Roper St. Francis Mt. Pleasant Hospital, the 657-bed health system includes more than 90 facilities and doctors offices located throughout the region. In the past year alone, its facilities have racked up an impressive roster of accolades, and all three of its hospitals were recently named to Truven Health Analytics “Top 100 Hospitals” list, a trusted industry resource that evaluates quality health systems across the nation.

Roper St. Francis is expanding to the growing north area of Charleston and is currently designing what will be Berkeley County’s first hospital. Berkeley Hospital will be located on a 90-acre healthcare campus at Carnes Crossroads in Summerville. The 140,000 sq. ft., 50-bed hospital will include obstetrics, physical therapy, infusion therapy, radiology and imaging services, an emergency department, and a pharmacy, along with an adjacent 60,000 sq. ft. medical office building to serve this growing area of Charleston. It is anticipated that the new facility will open in 2019.

West Edge

An exciting real estate development project that is taking shape near Roper’s downtown hospital and the Medical University of South Carolina’s campus is “WestEdge” Charleston and it’s something we’ll be hearing more and more about in the coming years. This project has been in the planning and approval phase for some time and is now finally starting to come to fruition. It will be transformational for this area of downtown Charleston, creating an estimated 4,280 jobs, as many as 200 new companies and 2,500 + new residents. One of the driving forces of this development is the goal to create a home for a bio-medical hub that will be within walking distance to Roper St. Francis and the Medical University of South Carolina campus.

We’re so fortunate to have such exceptional medical resources within our community and that organizations like these are becoming an increasingly important contributor to our economy. They’re bringing new services, new facilities and new jobs to the region, which is a positive for all of us.