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World-Renowned clinic coming to Spartanburg

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Basicly, the Steadman Hawkins Clinic which is world-renowned for its orthopedic treatment of atheletes is going to build its second location in Spartanburg at Mary Black Memorial Hospital, and the article hints that they plan to expand. This is big news for Spartanburg. It is probably the most prestigious business to come to Spartanburg County since BMW. The artilcle is a good read.

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Today begins a three-day celebration of Spartanburg's past, present and future that will end with the groundbreaking for the Steadman Hawkins Clinic of the Carolinas on Friday. It is a world-renowned orthopedic clinic based in Vail that will open its second location here.

Spartanburg is larger and more diverse than Vail, but Vail boasts a wealthier, better-educated population.

So, why Spartanburg?

Officials with the clinic and the Spartanburg leaders who wooed them say Spartanburg offers a perfect mix of business advantages and quality-of-life benefits.

From the business standpoint, it's the location factor, the facilities factor in what Mary Black Memorial Hospital is going to do for them, and that patients can get to us with relative ease.

"In terms of the individual doctors and recruiting them to be part of this new venture, it gets into the livability issues."

Business climate

The story of the Steadman Hawkins Clinic of the Carolinas began in three places.

Triad Hospitals Inc., which owns Mary Black Memorial Hospital, wanted to develop "centers of excellence" in various health-care specialties. Triad officials approached Drs. Richard Steadman and Richard Hawkins to seek their advice.

"As they looked around at centers of excellence in orthopedics, they saw the Steadman Hawkins Clinic in Vail as a good example," said Mary Black CEO Mitch Mitchell. "The more they talked, the more (Steadman and Hawkins) became intrigued with being the model, rather than giving advice on it."

At the same time they were approached by Triad Hospitals for advice, Steadman and Hawkins were contemplating expanding their practice to a second location.

They considered several communities that are home to Triad facilities, including Florence, S.C., but Spartanburg and Mary Black rose to the top.

"Mary Black was high on the list because Mary Black had already begun to make plans for a center of excellence," Mitchell said.

Spartanburg's location and infrastructure allows Steadman Hawkins to expand its presence and become more accessible to many patients.

While the Vail clinic treats many celebrity athletes -- the list reportedly includes pro golfer Greg Norman; Olympic skiier Picabo Street; and former NFL quarterbacks Dan Marino, Joe Montana and John Elway -- the clinic was looking for a more convenient location to treat its patients from the East Coast and Europe.

"I think the Vail center has been great, but it's landlocked and hard to get to and there's no room to expand," said Hawkins, who began seeing patients in Spartanburg in early April. "We thought, 'Gosh, we can do it bigger and better.' Maybe we could grow this fairly large."

With access to Interstates 26 and 85 and an international airport nearby, Spartanburg offered the access the doctors were looking for.

"We have access to a wonderful airport," said Mayor Bill Barnet, referring to Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport. "It allows them access to some of their European patients."

Spartanburg also is an easy drive from Charlotte, N.C., and Atlanta, Ga., as well as a host of Southeastern colleges. For 10 of the 12 colleges in the Southern Conference, the Steadman Hawkins Clinic of the Carolinas will be within two hours.

Morrison said the same benefits of access and location drew the Southern Conference to Spartanburg in 2002. Spartanburg rose above Greenville and Charlotte in attracting the collegiate athletics conference.

"We're biased about Spartanburg because we selected Spartanburg. We had nice offerings (from the other cities)," Morrison said. "It's a great location, great interstate access, great airport and a wonderful community."

Quality of life

But interstates and airports were only part of the package. The other factors were less concrete.

"I think we do have one of the intangible (benefits) and that is the quality of life and the people in Spartanburg," Morrison said.

Smith was part of a group of community leaders who hosted doctors being recruited to the Spartanburg clinic. On those early trips, Smith said, the doctors received tours of the town, including areas to shop and live, cultural attractions, local schools and colleges, and sports opportunities in town and nearby in Charlotte, Atlanta and Greenville.

"It really was an overall quality-of-life package," Smith said.

Barnet also spoke to the doctors on an early trip to Spartanburg.

"I tried to make them feel comfortable, that the community would be welcoming," he said. "This was just a great, caring community where (the doctors) felt comfortable and they felt welcomed and realized that they would be a valued part of the community."

Mitchell credits the good marketing job done by local leaders and the hospitality shown by the community with sealing the deal.

"What really convinced Drs. Steadman and Hawkins to come to Spartanburg was the local leadership. (The community) really created such a welcoming force that it became easy," he said. "I am convinced that if it weren't for the community's welcome, it wouldn't have happened."

Hawkins said the warm welcome even extended into the operating room.

"The hospital has been accommodating. The first day I scrubbed in the OR, I had two scrub nurses," he said. "I've never had two scrub nurses in my life."

Elevating Spartanburg

Barnet believes attracting a group with the prestige of Steadman Hawkins will elevate all aspects of the community. It adds to the reputation of everything from the cultural community and the health-care system to the downtown Marriott and other local businesses.

"I think any time a community such as ours can attract a group of doctors with a national reputation, it lends great credibility to our community," the mayor said. "There are a lot of ancillary privileges."

And Mitchell expects the patients who visit the clinic will add to the local economy by eating in downtown restaurants, staying at local hotels and enjoying recreational attractions and events. Plus, the hospital will pay an additional $300,000 in county property taxes on the new facility, he said.

The Steadman Hawkins Clinic of the Carolinas also will add intellectual property and educational prestige to Spartanburg's resume.

The clinic will continue the work done in Vail in the arenas of research and development, education and fellowship training. Already, the doctors have partnered with Clemson and the University of South Carolina on biomedical research projects.

Officials also expect them to attract other professionals in orthopedics, physical therapy and related medical fields.

"That is a tremendous step for a rural, Southeastern town," Smith said. "A group of professionals in that field puts us head and shoulders above the rest of the world."

Smith also believes the presence of Steadman Hawkins will elevate Spartanburg beyond the health-care field. As the group continues its research and develops new medical technology, there may be opportunities to manufacture those new tools. That would perpetuate Spartanburg's rich manufacturing history, but in a new, high-tech arena, Smith said.

"I think it's a never-ending story, an open book in terms of what this can bring to this area," he said.

I summarized and edited from this article in The Herald-Journal:

http://www.goupstate.com/apps/pbcs.dll/art...330/1051/news01

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