Russell Baxley, president and CEO of Beaufort Memorial Hospital, meets with media representatives before a pre-opening tour of the hospital’s new Okatie Medical Pavilion.

Beaufort Memorial Hospital (BMH) opened its all-new Okatie Medical Pavilion Nov. 2, providing much-needed health care services in the fast-growing communities of southern Beaufort and Jasper counties.

A medical mall of sorts, the 70,000-square-foot facility features access to more than 30 practices offering high-quality Beaufort Memorial primary and specialty care, along with MUSC Health subspecialty care, a walk-in clinic, outpatient rehabilitation, laboratory and imaging services, a breast health center, memory center, and Beaufort Memorial’s second full-service cancer center in partnership with MUSC Health and Alliance Oncology.

“Since we established our first medical office in Bluffton in 2006, we have continued to expand our footprint and add new board-certified providers to meet the critical demand for health care in this booming market,” said BMH President and CEO Russell Baxley. “With our new Okatie Medical Pavilion, area residents will not only have more options for basic health care, they’ll have convenient access to advanced care and services previously only available at our main hospital campus or in Charleston.”

Construction of the three-story pavilion began in May 2019 as part of an ambitious plan to expand Beaufort Memorial’s presence south of the Broad River. Located at 122 Okatie Center Boulevard North, the 19-acre property will replace the hospital’s existing multispecialty offices in Westbury Park in Bluffton.

The facility will offer Beaufort Memorial full-time primary care, OB-GYN and orthopaedic services as well as appointments with specialists in cardiology, gastroenterology, general surgery, vascular surgery and neurology.

Other BMH services available in the complex will include:

• The hospital’s third Express Care & Occupational Health clinic in the area, open seven days a week and offering same-day treatment for minor illnesses and injuries, as well as an array of services for companies enrolled in the hospital’s Well at Work program.

• A breast health center, offering screening and diagnostic mammography, diagnostic ultrasound and bone density screenings.

• Beaufort Memorial Memory Center, a diagnostic and research clearing house for dementia patients and their caregivers.

• Outpatient and cardiac rehabilitation.

• An imaging center, offering CT, MRI, X-ray and cardiac stress testing.

• A full-service laboratory.

Adult and Pediatric Subspecialists from MUSC Health will provide in-person and telemedicine consultations. MUSC services will include:

• Specialists in dermatology, foot and ankle orthopaedics, neurosurgery, transplant, gynecology oncology, orthopaedic oncology, thoracic oncology and subspecialty telehealth.

• MUSC Children’s Health specialists in cardiology, developmental pediatrics, ENT, gastroenterology, hematology/oncology, orthopaedics, neurology and rheumatology.

Beaufort Memorial’s New River Cancer Center is also located in the pavilion, bringing the hospital’s cancer services closer to home for patients living in the area. A partnership with MUSC Health and Alliance Oncology, a division of Alliance HealthCare Services, the new facility provides radiation and medical oncology, chemotherapy and infusion services as well as access to clinical trials and consultations with subspecialists experienced in treating rare or complex cancer.

Onsite staff will include board-certified radiation oncologist Dr. Paul Saconn, who has worked in cancer facilities in North Carolina, West Virginia and Hilton Head Island, and board-certified medical oncologist Dr. Stephen Tiley, previously with Meadows Regional Cancer Center in Vidalia, Ga.

Like the Keyserling Cancer Center on the main hospital campus, the New River center is equipped with the latest technology in the fight against cancer. It features the cutting-edge Halcyon Linear Accelerator radiotherapy system, which targets tumors with pinpoint precision while providing a treatment environment that’s quieter and more comfortable for the patient.

Having access to oncology and radiation oncology, lab, imaging, infusion and breast health services under one roof will make it more convenient for patients to navigate the complex journey from cancer diagnosis to treatment.

“We’re taking the team approach to a new level with both core and ancillary cancer services in one building, enhancing the multidisciplinary model that has been shown to improve outcomes,” Baxley said. “These are the same advanced technologies and protocols available at leading cancer centers.”

The joint venture expands the collaboration BMH has had with MUSC, providing expertise in sub-specialties not available in Beaufort. Initiated in 2016, the affiliation with the National Cancer Institute-designated cancer program at MUSC has allowed BMH patients to participate in groundbreaking clinical trials studying promising new cancer drugs and treatments.

“This expansion of our existing relationship with BMH to extend specialty services in the Bluffton area aligns with MUSC Health’s commitment to making sure that patients throughout South Carolina receive the right care, in the right place, and at the right time,” said Patrick J. Cawley, M.D., MUSC Health CEO and Vice President for Academic Affairs, University. “By working together, we can provide more convenient, coordinated and high-quality care to all of those individuals who need both MUSC and BMH services.”

Along with the Okatie Medical Pavilion, Beaufort Memorial’s south-of-the-Broad facilities include HealthLink for Children, a pediatric rehabilitation program in Buckwalter Place; and May River Medical Pavilion on Burnt Church Road. Opened last fall in a renovated 7,000-square-foot office building, it includes a primary care practice and another Express Care & Occupational Health clinic. This summer, BMH also added Palmetto Medical Group in Bluffton to its network of physician partners.

Plans are in the works for its largest facility in the area to date – a $44 million micro hospital to be built in collaboration with MUSC Health on 13 acres near the corner of Buckwalter and Bluffton parkways. The first facility of its kind in South Carolina, it will include a 15-bed emergency room and 20 beds for acute care with a variety of service lines, including orthopaedics, cardiology and general surgery, as well as lab and imaging.

For more information on the Okatie Medical Pavilion, visit BeaufortMemorial.org/OkatieMedicalPavilion or call 843-706-8660. For any of MUSC Health’s services, visit MUSCHealth.org or call 843-876-0727.

Marie McAden is a freelance writer who covers many aspects of Lowcountry life.