Skip to content
May 8, 2024

MUSC Health Black River Medical Center Designed with Security in Mind

When MUSC Health broke ground in 2021 for a new rural hospital to serve Lower Florence and Williamsburg counties, it created an opportunity to design a facility with today’s safety and security priorities in mind. The security systems at MUSC Health Black River Medical Center – which replaced hospitals in Lake City and Kingstree – help safeguard staff, patients and visitors without sacrificing access or convenience, according to Executive Director Allen Abernethy.

A key decision was to have only one public entrance; the others require badge access. A single vestibule provides access to the emergency department, surgery and outpatient wings, each having its own waiting area. Having a single registration team also helps with staffing efficiencies and patient flow, he said, noting that in year one – which saw more than 22,000 ED patients – the average wait time was 12 minutes from door to triage, 30 minutes from door to doctor, and 42 minutes from door to bed.

MUSC Black River’s Only Entrance

Other enhancements include a state-of-the-art camera system and a 24/7 visible security presence, something neither legacy hospital had. An automated control board controls doors to every space that has limited access and allows for lockdowns if needed.

“Safety is always an important factor when designing a hospital. Our challenge was to marry safety with customer service and convenience,” Abernethy said. “Involving staff and the Patient-Family Advisory Committee in programmatic decisions helped ensure that the facility would be welcoming as well as safe. The folks who were going to be working here had a major role in designing the facility.”