- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 26, 2017

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) - Plans to reopen a burn unit at the Medical University of South Carolina Hospital in Charleston are being opposed by doctors at a Georgia hospital.

Doctors at the Joseph M. Still Burn Center in Augusta, Georgia, say they don’t think a South Carolina center is financially feasible, The Post and Courier of Charleston (https://bit.ly/2oL2dk8) reported.

Hospital Corporation of America owns the Georgia hospital and Trident Medical Center in North Charleston, where the Georgia hospital operates a burn clinic.

Dr. Fred Mullins, president and medical director of the burn center in Augusta, said Charleston can’t support its own facility.

“Financially, it’s not feasible,” he said.

Mullins said if a full-time inpatient center in the Charleston area made economic sense, his team already would have already built one.

The Medical University of South Carolina closed its burn unit in 2002.

Numbers from the Georgia hospital show that 779 south Carolinians were admitted last year. Only 28 of them came from Charleston.

Supporters say the measure would help residents, particularly in the eastern part of the state, avoid the costs associated with treatment in Augusta.

“I just think that (a burn center) is a critical medical service and South Carolinians deserve it,” said Rep. Leon Stavrinakis, D-Charleston.

Mullins confirmed the doctors’ group in Augusta has hired a lobbying firm in Columbia “to help keep us up-to-date on issues related to the burn center funding, as well as other issues that could affect us in South Carolina.”

Dr. Pat Cawley, the executive director of the Medical University of South Carolina Hospital, said a burn unit in Charleston isn’t feasible without state money. That’s one reason why MUSC’s original burn center closed.

“We think $5 million, at least particularly in the first several years, would be significant to not lose money on it and build a world class unit,” Cawley said.

The amount is being negotiated as state lawmakers work on the budget for the coming year.


Information from: The Post and Courier, https://www.postandcourier.com

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