KershawHealth’s Healthcare Place at Bethune will remain open, according to Wayne Tidwell of the KershawHealth Board of Trustees who spoke to Kershaw County Council during its meeting Tuesday afternoon. Tidwell appeared with interim KershawHealth CEO Terry Gunn as part of a quarterly report to council.
“KershawHealth continues to face many financial challenges, but remains focused on this mission to the residents of Kershaw County. Through the combined team efforts of the KershawHealth Board of Trustees, administration and medical staff we secured the reinforced support and continuation of (the) KershawHealth clinic at Bethune,” Tidwell said. “Today, the clinic is well supplied and staffed to serve in Bethune, Cassatt, Buffalo, Mt. Pisgah and surrounding areas. The number of patients served on a daily basis is rapidly increasing to insure profitability.”
Tidwell said brochures detailing the clinic’s services and hours have been distributed to area churches, civic groups and town halls.
“Providing quality healthcare to this medically underserved rural area has increased support of KershawHealth from this area and is an enhancement to the quality of life to the county residents we serve,” he said.
Gunn said when he came to KershawHealth four months ago, there were concerns about keeping the Bethune office open.
“In spite of the financial difficulties and the challenges in even finding providers to provide care in that community, by working together with our medical staff, our board and the local community, we’ve been able to find a workable solution,” Gunn said. “That is not only providing the care we have provided in the past, but now there’s more hours with a better supplied clinic, one the community seems to be embracing with more patients coming each and every day. We continue to be optimistic about where our future is and how the Bethune clinic will continue to serve for many, many years.”
Answering a question from Councilman Jimmy Jones, Gunn explained why closing the clinic had been considered an option.
“It was not heavily utilized. Financially it was not a viable concern. We were faced with the anchor provider of care in that clinic was going to have to leave. Financial losses were a piece of the equation, but we were faced with not having the franchise player to provide care in the community,” Gunn said. “It really looked pretty dire. We can deal with financial issues, but if you don’t have the person to deliver the care and no good leads in finding somebody, that was not going to be viable.”
Gunn also said KershawHealth’s strategic planning has made progress with input from residents, the business community and the hospital staff.
“For the first time in a long time we’ve come together as a community to declare what it is we expect from our health services and what we can accomplish together by working together,” he said. “I’m excited about it. I’m hearing good things and I hope you are, too.”
Voters will get to decide in November whether or not to allow the sale of alcohol on Sundays in the unincorporated areas of Kershaw County. Council unanimously passed third and final reading of an ordinance setting up a ballot question with two parts: one to allow alcohol sales at stores and the other to allow on-site consumption at restaurants and bars.
“Whether we personally agree with this or not, I think it’s always good to put something out to the people and let them tell you how they feel,” Jones said. “I think it’s the right thing to do, regardless of personal beliefs.”
Also, council passed second readings on three ordinances regarding planning and zoning matters. The first is to change the zoning designation of a particular property from RD-2 residential to I-1 industrial. The second would amend the definition of an industrial park and would allow the main sign of such parks to be larger than what is currently allowed. The third pertains to nonconforming structures that were built before zoning and building codes were created. It would allow such structures to expand by as much as 10 percent without losing the nonconforming status.
A fourth ordinance on the agenda passed second reading as well, approving the development of a joint industrial and business park with neighboring Chesterfield County.
Council also passed proclamations declaring April as National Child Abuse Prevention Month and another recognizing National Public Safety Telecommunications Week.
Council also approved a resolution on the county’s equipment lease program for county vehicles, and gave approval to extend the lease for Aircraft Maintenance Services at the Kershaw County Airport while the owner seeks financing for a new hangar he wants to build to expand the business.