Beaufort News

DHEC to hear another appeal in Bluffton outpatient-center battle

The governing board of the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control voted Thursday to hear more arguments regarding a proposed outpatient center in Bluffton.

Hilton Head Hospital wants to build the outpatient center near the intersection of U.S. 278 and Buck Island Road, but St. Joseph's/Candler Health System of Savannah and Beaufort Memorial Hospital strongly oppose it. Both already operate similar facilities in Bluffton.

Hilton Head Hospital requested DHEC's approval of the center last May. DHEC's board rejected the proposal Feb. 6 but reversed itself and approved it March 29, despite opposition from Beaufort Memorial and St. Joseph's/Candler.

Beaufort Memorial and St. Joseph's/Candler then appealed, and DHEC's board decided Thursday to hear their appeal. Arguments were scheduled for May 8.

Kelly Presnell, a spokeswoman for Hilton Head Hospital, said the hospital did not expect such opposition when it submitted its application for the outpatient center.

The dispute could extend beyond the May 8 meeting. DHEC spokesman Adam Myrick said avenues for potential appeals still exist pending the outcome of that hearing.

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