Monday, January 11, 2010

He says ... The future of Bluffton’s health care is nearly here

Bluffton Today

We had a total of just under 375 constituent contacts for last week, which is right about average for us these days.

The phones are up and working, thanks to some good work by our friends at Hargray. There was apparently some confusion as to why we were down for those several days. It was not due to any deficiencies in the service or the system provided by Hargray Communications. Our problems were due entirely to chaos and confusion brought about by moving our office and all the accumulated stuff that is now necessary to the functioning of a modern legislative operation. I regret any misunderstanding that might have been caused by comments made in this column.

Constant readers know that I am not shy about candid assessments of the performance of companies, other politicians or opinion leaders whose work, in my view, falls short of the mark. I also try to give credit where credit is due.

Speaking of local business, there is a new skilled nursing facility about to open in Bluffton on S.C. 170 just south of Sun City. The facility is built and run by NHC Healthcare and according to regional VP Sonny Kinney, it will provide short-term physical rehabilitation or extended care for physical or cognitive difficulties for 120 patients in its current facility. They anticipate hiring between 130 and 140 folks, most from the Bluffton area. Future plans for their campus call for construction of an assisted-living facility and an inpatient hospice, as well as a fourth unit to complement and complete the current installation.

The community open house for this new skilled nursing facility is set for this Thursday from 4 to 7 p.m. and the ribbon cutting to take place around 5. With the demographics of District 118 leaning somewhat toward the older side, I am pleased to have this new business in our neighborhood, not to mention the 100-plus jobs. Try to make it out for the event and introduce yourself to administrator Wade Taylor and take a look at the future of Bluffton health care.

Well, friends, it’s showtime tomorrow in Columbia with the convening of the current session of the General Assembly. The offseason has been extremely busy for me as well as other members of your Beaufort County delegation. Aside from the challenges presented by the budget and the economy, we are determined to achieve funding equity for our local schools, close the loopholes in our environmental protections, and at least make a good beginning on the monumental task of reforming the state’s finances.

In fact, we have a lengthy list of things that need to be addressed and acted upon. This is not just an agenda that I made up, or we came up with in the Coastal Caucus, or the party caucus — it is your agenda. Those 300 to 400 constituent contacts per week that we have week in and week out all year are where this agenda comes from. You speak, I listen, and your voice is heard in Columbia. The higher your representative goes up the seniority ladder and the more coherent and organized your delegation, the loader your voice.

That’s why they call it the House of Representatives.