MUSC Trustees Updated on Regional Expansion, Approve New Health Professions Dean

Sheila Champlin

April 13, 2018

CHARLESTON, SC – The Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) and Medical University Hospital Authority (MUHA) Board of Trustees held its regularly scheduled meeting to review the education, patient care, and research missions of the enterprise. During a discussion about MUSC Health, the patient care unit, the board heard updates on the regional expansion MUSC is undertaking to meet the mushrooming health care demands of the community. Projects underway or being planned include:

  • MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital and Pearl Tourville Women’s Pavilion at Calhoun Street and Courtenay Drive, a $388.7 million project with 250 beds, scheduled to open in fall 2019.
  • MUSC Children’s Health Ambulatory Campus in North Charleston, a 100,000-square-foot facility, solely dedicated to outpatient pediatric care, a $57.7 million project scheduled to open in early 2019.
  • MUSC Health Community Hospital at Nexton, a 311, 221-square-foot facility with 128 beds, to provide a range of specialized inpatient and outpatient services, the project is estimated at $325 million and expected to be operational in 2022.
  • MUSC West Campus, improvements for the West Ashley musculoskeletal institute, a $16.4 million project being planned with an anticipated opening in late 2019.
  • Consolidated Service Center, a warehouse for material management supply chain and a central sterile processing distribution center, $28 million facility, expected to be operational in the second half of 2019.
  • The first MUSC Health primary care office on Daniel Island, expected to open by fall 2018.

“Bed capacity is definitely a problem,” said Patrick J. Cawley, M.D., CEO of MUSC Health and vice president of Health Affairs, University. “There are just not enough beds in the state. It’s an issue that mirrors what’s happening across the nation. This is why we have been moving forward, planning for the future.

“It would appear there is a shift occurring. More and more patients are going to academic medical centers and not to community hospitals. We see this across the country. Older, sicker patients with multiple problems are being sent [referred] to academic medical centers. They’re being pushed to teaching hospitals like ours in a big tide,” Cawley said. One board member offered that downsizings and closures of many rural hospitals may have eroded confidence among referring physicians and their rural patients.

“Another way to look at our community hospital [in Nexton] is we need to get the less complex patient cases into a lower-acuity setting,” said MUSC President David J. Cole, M.D., FACS. “That will allow our high-acuity, tertiary care facilities to have available capacity to bring in the patients that we need and want. That innovative, tertiary-level work, to serve the sickest patients with the most complex, often life-threatening needs, is something that only MUSC can provide.

“We’re trying to support best care for lower-acuity cases and work with our partners to keep those patients local,” Cole noted. “With our regional expansion, we’re trying to bring the lower-acuity facilities to our patients and have downtown be for high-acuity, tertiary care. The concept is to deliver lower-acuity care through better access points throughout the region, including using telehealth, and have our downtown centers, children’s and main hospitals, be the tertiary centers. Strategically, that’s what we’re trying to accomplish.”

The newest MUSC/MUHA board member, Paul T. Davis, DMD, a general dentist from Florence who is in his 19th year of practice, attended his first series of meetings. He was elected as the medical professions representative to the MUSC/MUHA Board of Trustees for the 7th Congressional District. For more information, please visit: Florence dentist named to MUSC board of trustees

Board members also marked the mid-March passing of Robert C. Gordon, DDS. An Orangeburg dentist since 1972, he had been a member of the MUSC/MUHA Board of Trustees since April 2017 and had represented the 6th Congressional District. For more information, please visit: MUSC marks passing of Robert Gordon, DDS, board of trustee member

Danielle Scheurer, M.D., chief quality officer for MUSC Health, reported that effective March 7, the Office of Clinical Standards and Quality in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has recertified the Heart Transplant Program. MUSC Health is the only hospital in the state that performs heart transplants.

In other business, the board voted to appoint Zoher Kapasi, PT, Ph.D., MBA, as the next dean of the College of Health Professions, effective May 1. Associated with Emory University since 1994, Kapasi brings 24 years of experience as an academic faculty member and seven years of experience as an academic leader as the Emory University School of Medicine’s director of the Division of Physical Therapy, and vice chairman of education and chief of outpatient development in the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine.

During its previous meeting, the board voted to approve Linda S. Weglicki, Ph.D., RN, as the next dean of the MUSC College of Nursing, effective June 1. Weglicki has more than 40 years of professional experience in nursing practice, education, and research. An internationally recognized scholar and leader in adult and community health nursing, she joins MUSC with numerous leadership achievements showcasing her commitment to mentoring and fostering the next generation of nurse leaders, practitioners, researchers, and scholars.

“Dr. Kapasi and Dr. Weglicki were selected after extensive national searches,” said Lisa K. Saladin, PT, Ph.D., executive vice president for Academic Affairs and provost. “I want to express my gratitude to the search committee and especially to the chairs for the time, effort, and due diligence performed to identify the best candidates for these critical leadership positions.” Mark Sothmann, Ph.D., chaired the search for the Health Professions dean, while Darlene Shaw, Ph.D., chaired the search for the Nursing dean.

“I would also like to extend my appreciation to Dr. Jim Zoller for his service and excellence as interim dean of the College of Health Professions since July 1, 2016,” Saladin said. Chairman of the Department of Health care Leadership and Management for five years in the College of Health Professions, Zoller has announced plans to retire from MUSC once the new dean comes aboard. In recognition of his 24-year distinguished career in academia at MUSC and outstanding service to the institution, the board voted to appoint Zoller dean emeritus effective July 1.

Weglicki succeeds Gail Stuart, Ph.D., FAAN, RN, whose esteemed leadership has propelled the MUSC College of Nursing to national prominence and excellence during her 16-year tenure as dean. To recognize her years as dean and 33 years with MUSC, the board approved Stuart as dean emerita effective June 30. On that day, she steps down after dedicating 47 years to the nursing profession. During her time as dean, Stuart raised the school’s profile by increasing its research funding by more than 470 percent to become a top tier college for nursing research. The college also landed the No. 1 spot on the U.S. News & World Report list for online graduate nursing programs in 2015, and has been consistently ranked among the top three in the country for the past four years.

The MUSC/MUHA Board of Trustees serves as separate bodies to govern the university and hospital, holding two days of committee and board meetings six times a year.

About MUSC

Founded in 1824 in Charleston, MUSC is the state's only comprehensive academic health system, with a unique mission to preserve and optimize human life in South Carolina through education, research and patient care. Each year, MUSC educates more than 3,200 students in six colleges – Dental Medicine, Graduate Studies, Health Professions, Medicine, Nursing, and Pharmacy – and trains more than 900 residents and fellows in its health system. MUSC brought in more than $300 million in research funds in fiscal year 2023, leading the state overall in research funding. MUSC also leads the state in federal and National Institutes of Health funding. Learn more about our academic programs.

As the health care system of the Medical University of South Carolina, MUSC Health is dedicated to delivering the highest-quality and safest patient care while educating and training generations of outstanding health care providers and leaders to serve the people of South Carolina and beyond. Patient care is provided at 16 hospitals (includes owned or governing interest), with approximately 2,700 beds and four additional hospital locations in development, more than 350 telehealth sites and nearly 750 care locations situated in all regions of South Carolina. In 2023, for the ninth consecutive year, U.S. News & World Report named MUSC Health University Medical Center in Charleston the Number 1 hospital in South Carolina. Learn more about our patient services.

MUSC has a total enterprise annual operating budget of $5.9 billion. The nearly 26,000 MUSC family members include world-class faculty, physicians, specialty providers, scientists, students, affiliates and care team members who deliver groundbreaking education, research, and patient care.