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Orangeburg hospital, MUSC could soon enter into partnership

The goal is to have the partnership go into effect in October.

ORANGEBURG COUNTY, S.C. — A proposed partnership with the Regional Medical Center and MUSC aims to enhance healthcare access in Orangeburg and Calhoun Counties.

“The affiliation is in the best long term interest of the surrounding counties and more importantly the people in these counties who need healthcare," said South Carolina State Representative Gilda Cobb-Hunter.

Cobb-Hunter says this partnership will allow for more access to specialty services like orthopedics and oncologists. Her vision is to engage local colleges including South Carolina State University, Claflin University, Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College, and Denmark Technical College in research opportunities at the facility.

“Why not partner with the 1890 program at South Carolina State and look at what we can do to engage farmers, small farmers in the growing of our food all aimed at the preventative standpoint at improving our health outcome," she said.

According to Cobb-Hunter, MUSC is a good fit for this partnership due to its accessibility to affordable health care.

“I think particularly in rural communities you’ve got to have a partner who understands and appreciates the importance of providing care for those who are not able to afford it," she said.

She says this proposed partnership is possible with a budget proviso that is valid through June of next year. 

Both Orangeburg and Calhoun county councils have unanimously approved this partnership. According to County Administrator John McLauchlin, each council will now be asked to adopt an ordinance that will require three readings to approve.

According to Representative Cobb-Hunter, this proposed affiliation will not affect the jobs of current providers at the Regional Medical Center.

"I really just wanna assure frontline workers you have absolutely nothing to fear. Quite frankly you might wind up in a better position than you are now because when we get to be able to really implement all of the things we've talked about you're gonna be seeing a more enhanced healthcare workforce," she said.

The goal is to have a public hearing in September that would include both counties. The partnership would go into effect in October.


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