MUSC Health and Beaufort Memorial to open micro hospital in Bluffton

January 29, 2018

Joint venture to create first ‘micro hospital’ in the state   

Bluffton, SC – The Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) and Beaufort Memorial Hospital (BMH) have announced plans to form a joint venture that will expand health care services to the Bluffton community. Through a joint venture between their affiliates, MUSC and BMH will open a micro hospital with an estimated 20 beds to serve both pediatric and adult patients.

“MUSC and Beaufort Memorial Hospital have a long history of working together to extend the highest quality care available to the residents of the Beaufort community,” said Patrick J. Cawley, M.D., CEO for MUSC Health and vice president for Health Affairs, University. “Establishing a micro hospital in Bluffton is yet another step toward making top-quality health care even more accessible in locations throughout the state. More and more our patients want to receive care closer to home, family, friends and their communities.”

Bluffton is touted as the fastest-growing municipality in South Carolina with a population over 2,500, growing 882.7 percent between the 2000 and 2010 census. The 2010 census reported the Bluffton population as 12,893; however, the population is currently estimated at more than 18,000. According to its 2017 annual report, the town of Bluffton, which refers to itself as the heart of the Lowcountry, experienced a 9 percent increase in the total number of building permits issued over its previous fiscal year, and a 5 percent increase in new single family housing starts.

“Our goal is to provide innovative solutions to improve the accessibility of health care throughout the Lowcountry, supporting our mission to deliver superior health care services to our patients and to improve the health of our community,” said Russell Baxley, MHA, president and CEO of BMH. “Working with MUSC in these efforts affords us the ability to more quickly respond to the community’s growing need for high-quality, specialized services.”

“Micro hospitals are designed to deliver a higher level of service to patients than retail clinics or urgent care facilities, and they deliver that care in small facilities that are situated near neighborhoods where people live, work and play,” Cawley explained. “These smaller hospitals offer a patient-friendly care model that drives high-quality care, a compassionate and premium patient experience, and higher patient satisfaction. With fewer patients, providers can focus on building closer patient relationships and data shows that helps to produce better outcomes.”

“As South Carolina’s only publicly assisted, academic health science center, MUSC is charged with a unique three-part mission to deliver the highest quality health care education, research and patient care to all the residents of the Palmetto state,” said MUSC President David J. Cole. “This joint venture to open a micro hospital with Beaufort Memorial Hospital, one of our long-term, strategic partners, is another tangible demonstration of MUSC’s commitment to achieve our vision – to lead health innovation for the lives we touch.”

About MUSC Health

MUSC Health is the clinical enterprise of the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), comprised of a 700-bed medical center, the MUSC College of Medicine and the physician’s practice plan. It serves patients across South Carolina and beyond through four hospital facilities in Charleston and more than 100 outreach sites. Among these are the Hollings Cancer Center, the only National Cancer Institute-designated center in the state, and a nationally recognized Children’s Hospital. The Medical University was founded in 1824 and has become a premiere academic health sciences center at the forefront of the latest advances in medicine, with world-class physicians, scientists and groundbreaking research and technology that is often the first of its kind in the world. Visit for more information.


About Beaufort Memorial Hospital

Licensed for 197 beds (169 acute, 14 rehabilitation, and 14 mental health), BMH serves as an acute-care hospital, a regional referral center and the largest medical facility between Savannah, Georgia, and Charleston. The hospital has a dedicated, high-quality medical staff of nearly 230 board-certified or board-eligible providers. To meet the growing medical needs of the Bluffton community, BMH opened Bluffton Medical Services in Westbury Park in 2006. Today, the multi-specialty campus offers full-time primary care, adult rehabilitation, lab and imaging services, in addition to specialty services including cardiology, orthopedics, neurology, obstetrics and gynecology. BMH formed a clinical affiliation with MUSC in 2016 to offer cancer clinical trials locally. The affiliation has since expanded to include telemedicine services for stroke and neonatal patients. With its mission to deliver superior healthcare services to patients and to improve the health of the community, BMH recently received the Leapfrog Group’s coveted ‘A’ rating for patient safety, the American Heart Association’s Elite Stroke Plus designation for cardiovascular care, and the Joint Commission’s disease-specific designation for its Joint Replacement Center. For more information services, locations and designations visit