FLORENCE – HopeHealth held a groundbreaking ceremony for its new office location — HopeHealth on Pine Needles Road — on Thursday morning.
The new family practice facility at 3380 Pine Needles Road will have about 10,000 square feet. FBI Construction in Florence is in charge of construction of the building. F W Architects is the designer. Construction is projected to be completed within a year.
Carl M. Humphries, HopeHealth CEO, spoke prior to the ceremonial groundbreaking. Humphries said he came to Florence in 2000, and for the first 16 years, he lived in the neighborhood off Pine Needles Road and drove by this piece of property he estimated about 5,000 or 6,000 times. Humphries said he thought back then that the site would be a great location for another HopeHealth.
Humphries said HopeHealth is all about access to health care. He said with the new location HopeHealth could add as many as 4,000 new patients.
Humphries said he is excited about the access to health care that the new location will provide. He said the new site will create access to health care for the people in the West Florence area and also create access all over the HopeHealth network. He said the plan is to move some existing providers to the new location, which will create capacity at the Irby Street location for new patients.
HopeHealth has a significant economic impact on the Florence community, Humphries said. He said an economic impact study was done and determined that HopeHealth is responsible for a total of 869 jobs in the community. He said HopeHealth has more than 500 employees with most of them in the Florence area. The total number includes some indirect jobs.
Humphries said HopeHealth spent $78 million at the community health center in the local communities in Clarendon, Williamsburg and Florence counties in 2018.
He said HopeHealth is treating people from all walks of life with 50,000 patients last year. He said HopeHealth has had a 29 percent growth rate in the number of patients served over the last four years. He said 67 percent of the patients are ethnic and racial minorities.
“Between 500 and 1,000 of our patients are veterans, and between 500 and 1,000 of our patients are homeless,” Humphries said.
Humphries said he is most proud of what HopeHealth does in serving people who would go without a health-care home if HopeHealth was not here.
Rep. Jay Jordan also addressed the gathering and said this was a great day for Florence. He said the community needs to make sure health care is available to all, and HopeHealth is a major contributor.
Martina Love, chairwoman of the HopeHealth Board of Directors, said she recently had an occasion to use the health services at HopeHealth. She said she has been impressed with the level of care provided by HopeHealth but never so much as in recent months.
Madison Hall, health care access coordinator at the South Carolina Primary Health Care Association, the unifying organization for the 23 community health centers in South Carolina, congratulated HopeHealth on breaking ground for its newest health center site. She said it is a great achievement that will expand access to health care in this community. She said this week, Aug. 9-15, is also National Health Center Week, an annual celebration with a goal of raising awareness about America’s health centers, and a most appropriate time for the groundbreaking. This year’s theme is “Lighting the way for Healthier Communities: Today and in the Future.”
“Community health centers are often a beacon of strength, service and care in their communities,” she said.
HopeHealth is one of 23 nonprofit, federally qualified health centers in South Carolina. It serves people in Florence, Clarendon, and Williamsburg counties and provides infectious diseases services in Aiken, Clarendon, Florence, Orangeburg, and Williamsburg counties. For more information, visit hope-health.org.
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