MUSC Board of Trustees votes to move forward on long-term lease and operations agreement with tRMCFebruary 10, 2023
The Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) and Medical University Hospital Authority (MUHA) Board of Trustees held their regularly scheduled committee sessions and board meeting on Feb. 9 and 10, respectively.
After appropriate due diligence and with the overwhelming support of county officials and state legislators, trustees voted unanimously to finalize a long-term lease and operations agreement with the Regional Medical Center (tRMC) in Orangeburg, S.C.
MUSC was invited by the state legislature and elected officials of Orangeburg and Calhoun counties to consider a new relationship with tRMC following the establishment of proviso 23.6 of the South Carolina General Appropriations Bill for Fiscal Year 2022-2023, which states that “the Medical University of South Carolina and the Medical University Hospital Authority shall partner with the Regional Medical Center in Orangeburg for research and improved access to care in rural and underserved communities experiencing chronic disease.”
Under the current nonbinding letter of intent between Orangeburg and Calhoun counties and MUHA, MUSC Health would assume control of all hospital operations and associated ambulatory practices. Finalization of the definitive agreement and receipt of various regulatory approvals are required to complete the process.
“Health care requires constant innovation so that evermore complex levels of care can be delivered safely closer to home. This is done through telehealth, physician-to-physician collaboration and working with talented and capable caregivers already within a particular area,” said James Lemon, D.M.D., MUSC Board of Trustees chairman. “The board is highly supportive of this paradigm that benefits patients and local health providers by ensuring the viability of local community hospitals. We’re pleased to welcome the Regional Medical Center team and look forward to supporting their efforts to care for their neighbors.”
As part of its commitment to providing accessible high-quality, coordinated and cost-effective patient care services through a community-based health care delivery network, MUSC Health will work with the local health care community to improve and expand access to advanced medical care in Orangeburg, Calhoun and Bamberg counties by:
- Recruiting physicians, nurses and allied health workers to meet the community’s needs most effectively.
- Developing and applying best practices to improve care delivery and decrease health disparities.
- Implementing and expanding telehealth services and using technology to enhance quality, safety and access to care.
- Offering health care providers and clinical staff training and skill development opportunities.
- Establishing future graduate medical education opportunities.
Once the process is complete, MUSC Health anticipates hiring all active employees in good standing at compensation levels generally consistent with current rates and fair market value. MUSC Health team members will meet with the administrators at each of the facilities to determine staffing and needs, with the intent to make operations as efficient and successful as possible, maximizing value to patients, families and their respective communities.
MUSC President David J. Cole, M.D., FACS, said, “MUSC’s role and responsibility is to help ensure and elevate best local care with appropriate access to the more complex care offered by the state’s only comprehensive academic health system, especially in the rural and underserved regions of our state. Welcoming tRMC into the MUSC family establishes new partners who will join this journey with us. We’re excited to continue fulfilling our unique statewide charge to meet the rapidly growing needs of South Carolina citizens.”
As part of his regular board report, Cole shared some key achievements and updates since the prior meeting spanning across the education, research and clinical missions of the institution. Some specific highlights included:
- MUSC Health Black River Medical Center’s grand opening in Cades, S.C. was held on Jan. 17, and the hospital is already exceeding census expectations.
- The 36-bed inpatient unit for patients from the South Carolina Department of Corrections opened at MUSC Health Chester Medical Center on Jan. 16.
- In Our DNA SC, the MUSC research partnership with Helix, surpassed the first-year goal of 20,000 samples in January.
- The Charleston Pediatric and Congenital Heart Program was nationally recognized by the Society of Thoracic Surgeons for its overall four-year observed mortality rate of 1.37% (expected 2.59%) and lower lengths of stay than the national average for all benchmarks and categories.
- The transplant program located in Lancaster received notice of Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services certification, reflecting high levels of quality and safety compliance. To date, 34 transplants have been performed.
The board also received information regarding a new medical office building slated for opening in spring 2025 in Berkeley County and within the City of Charleston, located in the Point Hope development in Cainhoy. At this time, possible services that will become available at this location may include: imaging, infusion, lab, PT/OT, primary care (adult and pediatric), gastroenterology, musculoskeletal/ortho, heart and vascular, behavioral health, OB-GYN, neurology, ophthalmology and shell space for further growth.
The MUSC/MUHA Board of Trustees serve as separate bodies to govern the University and hospital, normally holding two days of committee and board meetings six times a year. For more information about the MUSC Board of Trustees, visit academicdepartments.musc.edu/leadership/board/index.html.
Founded in 1824 in Charleston, MUSC is the state’s only comprehensive academic health system, with a unique mission to preserve and optimize human life in South Carolina through education, research and patient care. Each year, MUSC educates more than 3,000 students in six colleges – Dental Medicine, Graduate Studies, Health Professions, Medicine, Nursing and Pharmacy – and trains more than 850 residents and fellows in its health system. MUSC brought in more than $297.8 million in research funds in fiscal year 2022, leading the state overall in research funding. For information on academic programs, visit musc.edu.
As the health care system of the Medical University of South Carolina, MUSC Health is dedicated to delivering the highest-quality and safest patient care while educating and training generations of outstanding health care providers and leaders to serve the people of South Carolina and beyond. Patient care is provided at 15 hospitals with approximately 2,500 beds and four additional hospital locations in development; more than 350 telehealth sites, with connectivity to patients’ homes; and nearly 750 care locations situated in all regions of South Carolina. In 2022, for the eighth consecutive year, U.S. News & World Report named MUSC Health the No. 1 hospital in South Carolina. To learn more about clinical patient services, visit muschealth.org.
MUSC and its affiliates have collective annual budgets totaling $5.4 billion. The nearly 25,000 MUSC team members include a world-class faculty, physicians, specialty providers, scientists, students, affiliates and care team members who deliver and support groundbreaking education, research and patient care.