Beaufort Memorial Hospital has added the first doctor to its new obstetrics and gynecology practice and has added a multi-specialty practice with about 100 employees to its network.
Dr. Berniece Redmond, in private practice in North Carolina for 17 years, is now operating out of the Beaufort Memorial Obstetrics & Gynecology Specialists office in suite 120 of the Beaufort Medical Plaza at 989 Ribaut Road.
Dr. Christopher Benson and Dr. Gregory Miller are expected to start by April, according to a hospital news release. A fourth obstetrician is expected to begin in June, hospital spokeswoman Courtney McDermott said.
"I believe we will be able to continue to provide quality care for expectant mothers who chose to use Beaufort Memorial," hospital president and CEO Rick Toomey said.
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The new practice is part of a transition that began last summer, when Werner, Royal Csakany OB-GYN, and Coastal Obstetrics and Gynecology announced they would merge to form Coastal Obstetrics and Gynecology. The new practice announced it would join Coastal Carolina Hospital.
Coastal Carolina, owned by the Tenet Healthcare Corp., plans a 16-bed center with capacity for 1,000 deliveries a year. A groundbreaking for the Women's Pavilion renovation is set for 10 a.m. Feb. 20 at Coastal Carolina Hospital, spokeswoman Carolyn Grant said.
The facility should be ready for deliveries in late spring, she said.
The doctors have transitioned to Coastal, but also remain on staff at Beaufort Memorial and will continue delivering babies in Beaufort in the meantime, according to Toomey.
Beaufort Memorial also has added the Lowcountry Medical Group as a partner, the hospital announced. The multi-specialty practice will change its name to Beaufort Memorial Lowcountry Medical Group.
Concerns about changes to health insurance policy, technology and insurance regulations prompted the group to seek a partnership with the hospital, according to one of its partners.
"With health care changing so much, it's been an incredible struggle to maintain any sort of continuity on the level of services and level of care because of insurance changes," Dr. J. Craig Floyd said. "... It's just becoming too much to keep up with and, quite honestly, too expensive to keep ahead of the curve."
Toomey said the partnership should streamline billing, insurance filings, purchasing and other services.
"This makes both of us stronger in these challenging times of health care reform," Toomey said.
The practice has about 100 employees, and Floyd said he's been told almost of all of them will be offered the same or similar jobs. One position could be eliminated after four to six months and that employee moved to another role.
Toomey said the change should not affect the jobs of any of the approximately 1,400 hospital employees.
The merger becomes official March 1, and patient services will continue without interruption, Floyd and Toomey said. Lowcountry Medical can be reached at 843-770-0404 if patients have questions.
The partnership should not affect the patients or insurance the practice accepts, Floyd said. It could mean the group can accept more insurance providers, he added.
Lowcountry Medical, at 300 Midtown Drive, Port Royal, has 16 physicians on staff, with specialties in family practice, internal medicine, gastrointestinal, cardiology, orthopedics, oncology, neurology and gynecology.
Follow reporter Erin Moody at twitter.com/IPBG_Erin.