Grant to help Scotland Health expand, create 21 jobs

LAURINBURG — An $841,800 grant from the Golden Leaf Foundation will be used to fund expansion at three Scotland Health Care System facilities and create 21 new jobs, the system’s Board of Trustees announced in a statement released Monday.

According to Mike Vinson, chair of the Board, the monies will fund expansions at Scotland Memorial Hospital’s Emergency Center, Harris Family Practice and Scotland Surgical and GI under the “Access to Care Expansion Project.”

“As healthcare moves to an ambulatory environment, these current facilities no longer have the physical and provider capacity for patient growth,” Vinson said.

The funding is part of the latest round of the Golden LEAF Foundation Community-Based Grants Initiative, which also awarded $275,000 to Richmond Community College to establish the Edwin Morgan Center as a simulated hospital setting for the training of nursing students.

The project is expected to create 21 new, permanent healthcare positions.

Scotland Health Care System’s Emergency Center is seeing growth above 10-year projections, according to the statement. In 2009, the EC saw 35,000 patients — in 2014, that number was 48,000. By 2016, anticipated visits total 60,000.

The Golden Leaf grant will fund phase three of the center’s expansion project, which began in August 2014. The expansion will create eight additional nursing jobs and four additional nursing tech jobs.

Harris Family Practice’s 28-percent increase in patient numbers over the past two years necessitate seven new positions, according to the statements, and a 33-percent increase in patients served at Scotland Surgical & GI over the past year require an additional medical provider.

County leaders stressed the importance of infusion of grant dollars into the Scotland County community.

“As the sole community owned and not-for-profit health care system serving our economically challenged region, it provides the emergent, primary, and specialty care for many disadvantaged residents in facilities owned and with providers employed by Scotland Health Care System,” said County Manager Kevin Patterson.

“These changes would not only result in additional health care jobs, but also improve the bottom line for the hospital – a crucial need in rural health care at this time,” said state Rep. Garland Pierce.