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Improvements and expansions to health care coming to 2 rural Midlands areas

Orangeburg and Sumter are recieving funds to increase emergency response resources.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Federal funding is being used to expand emergency services in Orangeburg and Sumter. Both communities are hoping this sets more rural areas in the Midlands on a path to catch up to health care in the rest of the state. 

The City of Orangeburg is getting more than $800,000 in federal grant funding to put defibrillators in their city buildings. The money will also put new technology in fire stations to make communication easier and response times faster. Angela Terry, the city's Grant Administrator, says these additional resources will help.

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"People often travel out of town for their routine health care. I really know that what we have achieved with this funding and some of the purchases we have made, is going to enhance our response time," Terry said.

Orangeburg County is receiving $750,000 for five new emergency response vehicles in Holly Hill and Eutawville.

Regional Medical Center will also get a million dollars for emergency pandemic response equipment in case of another pandemic.

"This type of funding and the extent that we have received... has just not been available in the past," Terry explained. "I really am appreciative and grateful for the government's response."

Sumter is receiving some healthcare upgrades too. $15 million dollars will go toward expanding Toumey Hospital's emergency department. The expansion will add 13 beds.

"Even with the expansion, we will still be a very busy emergency department. 55,000 visits is a lot..., especially for a place like Sumter," CEO, Joe Dipaolo stated.

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With increased capacity, Dipaolo hopes it creates a more efficient experience.

"It'll just make it a little bit nicer for everybody in terms of the environment," he said.

The Toumey Hospital project will be completed in two phases, with the first phase expected to be finished by May 2023. The renovation of existing spaces is anticipated by November 2024.

In addition to the emergency department upgrades, the hospital is also opening a new cardiology office on Monday.

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