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Florence to get first-of-its-kind $100 million behavioral health facility

Nov 9, 2023

The facility will be named after the late Sen. Hugh. K Leatherman.

Gov. Henry McMaster, along with South Carolina House Speaker Murrell Smith, Florence Mayor Teresa Myers Ervin, several healthcare organizations and university leaders were at the historic announcement held at MUSC Health’s Florence Rehabilitation Center at 121 East Cedar Street. 

The investment includes up to $100 million in state funds appropriated to the the South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services by the South Carolina General Assembly, as well as $5 million in funding committed by the City of Florence, according to the release.

The city’s investment is believed to be the first direct investment of municipal funds in a behavioral health facility by a South Carolina municipality. 

The innovative new facility will serve as a regional behavioral health hub and include a combination of triage, crisis stabilization, telehealth, outpatient, and inpatient services that will expand much needed behavioral health resources in the Pee Dee region, according to the release. 

Once built, the hub will occupy the site of an MUSC-owned property currently known as the Cedar Tower campus on E. Cedar Street in Florence. The project was coordinated through an advisory committee convened by SCDHHS Director Robby Kerr, according to the release.  

Governor McMaster said the first-of-its-kind facility is an enormous step forward in addressing the future needs of South Carolina’s behavioral health system. 

“Through the collaboration of our state’s universities, hospital systems and state agencies,” McMaster said in the release. “We connect the pipeline between our education system, workforce and public health needs, leading to improved behavioral health outcomes in our state.”

Ervin said the collaboration will have a monumental impact on the mental health services for the Pee Dee and beyond.

“This collaboration will help to create a more comprehensive healthcare hub of the Pee Dee,” Ervin said in the release.

The new facility will include:

  • A rapid access center to provide walk-in triage and assessment and offer transition to care;

  • Telepsychiatry services to strengthen access to psychiatric services throughout the region;

  • Sixteen adult and four adolescent beds for crisis services to rapidly stabilize patients;

  • Outpatient adult and pediatric behavioral health clinics; and,

  • A 63-bed inpatient psychiatric unit to treat patients needing more acute care, including the transfer of the 23 psychiatric hospital beds at the McLeod Behavioral Health Center in Darlington to the new facility.

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