The S.C. House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee unanimously has approved $50 million to help pay for a new Children’s Hospital and Women’s Pavilion at the Medical University of South Carolina. The hospital, which is scheduled to open in 2019, is expected to cost $350 million.
What does the Ways and Means Committee’s decision mean?
It means that the House’s budget-writing committee has expressed a willingness to invest state resources in this new hospital. This is great news for a couple of reasons:
- It would be a substantial down payment on this new hospital. That will help keep the project on track, in terms of timing and cost.
- Beyond that, the fact that the committee – whose members come from all over South Carolina – came together for a unanimous vote sends a resounding message: MUSC Children’s Hospital is an invaluable healthcare resource for the entire state. That’s very encouraging, as this measure moves forward through the legislative process.
If approved, how would this appropriation affect the project as a whole?
It would allow us to get started sooner rather than later. We couldn’t even apply for the loan without at least $35 million in hand. This appropriation would allow us to lock in favorable terms and begin work right away.
- It allows us to stabilize costs somewhat.
- It helps us keep the project on track, in terms of timeline.
- It allows us to put resources that would otherwise go to our lenders into the hospital itself and into our mission – taking care of children and their families.
Does this mean that you have reached your goal and no longer need community support?
No. The bricks-and-mortar down payment is step one; there are many aspects of the building project and programs beyond the down payment that will require significant financial support from local and statewide communities, now and for years to come.
We know these bills have a long road to travel to be fully passed by our legislative body and approved by our governor. We remain in the “roll up our sleeves” phase of raising money for this new facility. We want to build something exceptional for the children and their families, instead of just building what might be sufficient. Regardless of what happens at the state level, we still must have the support and generosity of the public to reach our goals.
How will this money be spent if MUSC receives it?
The $50 million funding line item would be used for the bricks-and-mortar down payment needed to break ground on the new Children’s Hospital and Women’s Pavilion through a non-recurring appropriation. More funding will be needed to support the costs associated with constructing the building and putting necessary resources toward our mission.
What are the next steps?
As good as this news is, it’s important to remember that this is the first step in a long process. The bills must now go before the full House for a vote, and from there they will pass to the Senate Finance Committee. Once leaving committee, they will be voted on by the Senate. If they pass the Senate, a conference committee consisting of three members of the House and three members of the Senate will draft final versions of the two bills for ratification by the full body. Should the bills be ratified, they move to the governor’s desk for approval. After that, we’ll still need to raise at least $50 million in private gifts from our supporters in the community.
Bottom line, we need at least $350 million to build the hospital we envision. We must work together at every level – public and private – to secure those funds. Once we get there, we will have one of the best children’s hospitals in the country.