CEO: Hospital expansion independent from dispute

BERKELEY, S.C. (WCIV)---Trident's Summerville Medical Center wants to begin a $26 million expansion, but another medical company does not want it to move forward.

Roper St. Francis opposes the expansion at the Summerville facility, and has even asked DHEC not to approve the plans.

"We are concerned if the Summerville Medical Center expansion moves forward, the court system may find the additional beds there have already been put in place to serve that population," Douglas Bowling, Chief Strategy Officer for Roper, said.

Trident wants to add 30 more beds to the Summerville facility, which is in Dorchester County. The problem is both Trident and Roper want hospitals in Berkeley County. Trident would build its hospital in Moncks Corner, and Roper would have its hospital in the Goose Creek area.

Summerville Medical Center's CEO, Lou Caputo said the expansion at the facility is completely independent from the Berkeley County dispute.

"We feel like our 30 bed expansion is meeting the needs of the community and responding to the needs designated by the state," he said.

According to Bowling, the Berkeley county hospital plans were based off of population formulas. He said Berkeley county does not have the population to support two new hospitals with 50 beds at each.

"Summerville's application includes many of the same zip codes in Berkeley County that were used to justify the hospitals for the Berkeley county project," he said.

Bowling said he would at least like the state to withhold approval on the Summerville Medical Center project, until the two new hospitals are completed.

The review by DHEC into the Summerville Medical Center expansion will be August 12th.

The battle between Roper and Trident in Berkeley County will play out in a court this winter.