For almost a century, two hospitals have operated in our community bonded by a common mission – to provide the best health care for the people of Spartanburg.
Today, that mission is the same, but the bond is stronger. Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System has acquired Mary Black Health System, becoming one system positioned to serve Upstate South Carolina for decades to come.
The acquisition includes the 207-bed Mary Black hospital in Spartanburg and the 125-bed facility in Gaffney, as well as Mary Black’s physician offices and outpatient services.
The unified system will encompass more than 400 physicians and 100 doctor offices. It will employ almost 9,000 people and manage six hospitals in Spartanburg, Cherokee and Union counties.
Over the past several years, Spartanburg Medical Center has continued to experience increased demand to access inpatient services. SRHS planned to address capacity management by building an additional $200 million bed tower outlined in the Master Facility Plan. However, this opportunity provides an expedited solution rather than 8-10 years to address the growing access needs in Spartanburg. “This purchase will provide much needed additional capacity for inpatient care in Spartanburg,” Spartanburg Regional CEO Bruce Holstien said.
A long history
The histories of these two systems started long before they opened in the 1920s – Spartanburg General Hospital in 1921, Mary Black Memorial Hospital in 1925. And they have always been intertwined.
Hospitals were different from the modern concept, according to Spartanburg Regional Historian Melissa Walker, Ph.D.
“They would have 10 beds, 12 beds,” Walker said. “A doctor would open one to serve his own patients. There was no acute care for the most part.”
One of those, Spartanburg Hospital, Inc., opened in 1907 thanks in part to the efforts of Dr. Hugh Ratchford Black, known as an early pioneer surgeon in the area who also wrote a definitive history of medicine in the Spartanburg region at the time.
Spartanburg Hospital was one of five hospitals that were sold in 1920-1921, with the proceeds given to open the city’s first public hospital.
Dr. Black actively campaigned for and supported the new hospital. When Spartanburg General Hospital opened on Aug. 29, 1921, he performed the first surgery there – on his son, Paul Black.
Dr. Black and sons, Drs. Samuel Orr Black and Hugh Snoddy Black opened Mary Black hospital in 1925. They named the facility after their mother Mary Black.
The original facility resided at 1925 East Main Street but moved to its present location in 1968.
Once the sale closed, efforts have turned to the transition. The first, most obvious change – the names. Mary Black-Gaffney is being renamed Cherokee Medical Center, while the Spartanburg property will become a second location for Spartanburg Medical Center—Mary Black Campus. Spartanburg Regional leaders recognized the importance of keeping the Mary Black name.
“This acquisition brings two companies with a long history together,” Holstien said. “We are looking to honor history. The Mary Black name will always have a place with us.”
Both hospitals have grown into healthcare providers that serve the Upstate of South Carolina.
Spartanburg General bought the facility now known as the Spartanburg Hospital for Restorative Care in 1994 and became Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System in 1995. Gibbs Cancer Center opened in 1999.
Spartanburg Regional’s growth continued in 2008 with the opening of Village Hospital, now Pelham Medical Center, and again in 2015 when it purchased Wallace Thomson Hospital, now Union Medical Center.
Meanwhile, Mary Black became a hospital system when it partnered with Gaffney Medical Center in 2015.
One big family
“All our employees have a passion for healthcare and service,” former Mary Black CEO Parkes Coggins said. “We’re going to work together to continue the high standards of excellence set by both hospitals over the years.”
Coggins will be an essential part of that work, as he leads integration efforts as vice president, hospital integration.
Another familiar face will continue in a leadership role. Cody Butts, formerly the Mary Black Health System’s chief operating officer, will lead staff as interim president of Cherokee Medical Center.
Buildings will have different names and staff will have a different employer. But everyone’s core purpose will remain.
“Everyone will continue doing what they’ve been doing all along,” Spartanburg Regional chief operating officer, Mark Aycock said. “Healing the sick and serving the community. And we’ll be doing it together.”