ORANGEBURG COUNTY, S.C. — The Regional Medical Center is in the process of coming up with a plan to meet the health needs of people in the Orangeburg, Calhoun, and Bamberg counties. These needs were identified in a community health needs assessment.
The assessment has identified some of the major health issues affecting people in the tri-county of Orangeburg, Calhoun, and Bamberg counties.
“What we do know through data is when there is access to healthy options and access to care, folks choose the healthier option and we wanna make sure that folks have that option," said RMC external relations Phillip Ford.
The assessment is conducted by the Regional Medical Center every three years as mandated by the Affordable Heath Care Act. Among some of the most prevalent issues they found include obesity, and access to affordable health care and healthy foods.
From here, the hospital will designate a committee made up of government officials, county employees, and business leaders to create a community health improvement plan where they will develop strategies to address the needs they found.
“We are looking forward to even bringing in more funding. We can leverage our past successes and our outcomes that have been extremely successful so to secure more funding that we may be able to further address these needs," said director of grants Stephanie Harrison.
The information was gathered through focus groups and surveys. Strides toward improving access started being made after their last assessment. Since then, the hospital started holding food distributions so residents had access to free produce.
It also started offering cooking classes to inform people how to cook using healthier methods.
The studies also discovered cancer is a prevalent issue affecting the community. In response to this issue, the hospital began offering mobile mammography to make care for these patients more accessible.
“We find it very important to have folks with lived experience at the table because those are the folks we’re trying to serve and we wanna make sure we’re meeting folks where they’re at and making sure that we can improve the health of our community," said Ford.
The hospital plans to have the community improvement plan finalized by May.