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KH renovating homes on Roberts Streets

Pulmonology office open now; HR office conversion to start in September

Posted: September 2, 2010 7:35 a.m.
Updated: September 8, 2010 5:00 a.m.

A new pulmonolgist's office is open and an entire KershawHealth department will move into a new home, thanks to real estate purchases the county's healthcare system made in 2009.

Dr. Ziad R. Mattar, KershawHealth and the county's first full-time pulmonolgist, has moved into offices at 1218 Robert St., following the completion of renovations to the former home. Renovations to another home just across the street at 1211 Roberts St. will begin this month, allowing KershawHealth's human resources department to move out of the main complex.

Mattar, who specializes in pulmonology, critical care and sleep medicine, opened KershawHealth Pulmonology Thursday. He completed a three-year fellowship program in his three specializations in June at the University of Toledo, Ohio. According to KershawHealth officials, Mattar's work in Camden will be supported through a strategic allliance with the University of South Carolina (USC)Medical School in Columbia.

USC Pulmonology will provide physician coverage for Dr. Mattar since, KershawHealth officials said, it is impossible for a single physician to cover 24/7.

"By working with USC Pulmonology, Dr. Mattar will still be able to see very high acuity patients and to keep abreast of the latest trends and techniques in his field," KershawHealth officials said in a press release. "Without this strategic alliance, it would be virtually impossible for a medical center the size of ours to attract a full-time pulmonologist."

The hospital said patients who need to see a pulmonologist regularly or those who need a follow-up visit after hospitalization can now be seen in Camden rather than having to travel out of county.

"This is a significant accomplishment for KershawHealth, and is indicative of our commitment to providing an expanding array of specialists to the local medical community," the release stated.

Pulmonologists are specialists who deal with diseases of the lungs and respiratory tract. They are also trained to deal with the management of patients who require mechanical ventilation and complications which may arise from that.Because of this, they are often also trained in critical care medicine and work closely with ICU staff. They also work closely with primary care physicians, hospitalists and other physicians.

Dr. Mattar and his family now live in Camden.

The reason KershawHealth purchased and will renovate 1211 Roberts St. is because the human resources department's current location in the medical center is not only inadequate in terms of space, but inconvenient for potential employees, offsite employees and others, KershawHealth officials said in the release.

"The new location will make Human Resources highly visible to the public and much more accessible -- important factors since HR is often the first encounter potential employees have with KershawHealth," official said.

With the move, there will be ample parking, a waiting area and increased secure file storage space. In addition, the house is conveniently located for employees working at the healthcare system's main campus.

KershawHealth purchased two other properties in the area. Plans for those properties have yet to be announced. Earlier this year, KershawHealth also purchased a portion of the old Pine Tree Hill School from the city of Camden. The city had purchased it from the Kershaw County School District. KershawHealth has yet to determined what they will do with the property or if it plans to purchase the remaining portion of the former school's grounds.

It is currently used as a parking area for administrators and some employees.

In the meantime, KershawHealth is also getting closer to converting the former Burndale Shopping Center into an outpatient/urgent care center on East DeKalb Street. According to a recent Hospital Foundation newsletter, KershawHealth's emergency department on its main campus is swamped by nearly 25,000 visits each year. The wait room is, therefore, "extremely crowded, adn the wait time for patients whose conditions are not life-threatening can often be very long."

In addition, the newsletter said, each year KershawHealth handles 32,000 imaging studies, 5,000 chemotherapy visits, 8,000 outpatient physical therapy sessions and 131,000 outpatient lab tests. Plans are for the Burndale property to offer oncology, outpatient imaging and physical therapy centers in addition to a comprehensive laboratory.

KershawHealth purchased the shoping center in 2008, along with the attached bowling alley and an outbuilding. Hospital Foundation officials said if Kershaw County residents approve a capital tax referendum in November, KershawHealth will receive $4 million toward the Burndale project.The healthcare system has committed another $3 million, which is being matched by the foundation.


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