Category Archives: Public Health

DHEC and S.C. Hospital Association Partner to Help Patients Stay Safe During Disasters

In the face of natural disasters such as Hurricane Dorian that threatened to strike South Carolina last year, DHEC and entities such as the S.C. Hospital Association (SCHA) communicate with each other, patients, and the public about their respective storm efforts to better serve patients and their loved ones.

“The partnership between DHEC and hospitals in the state of South Carolina is vitally important,” said Justin KierDHEC’s Emergency Preparedness Coordinator with Bureau of Healthcare Planning and Construction. “Folks saw that through the messaging that was done through our online resources and our media resources, but also they saw that in their communities as well.”

More than 220 DHEC staff were activated around-the-clock leading up to, during, and after this storm event in 2019.

During the response to Hurricane Dorian, DHEC staff helped coordinate the safe evacuation and re-entry of more than 7,000 patients from 175 regulated health care facilities impacted by the Governor’s mandatory medical evacuation order, including

  • 13 hospitals,
  • 25 nursing homes, and
  • 92 assisted living facilities

“We help bring DHEC together with hospitals to make sure that hospitals are aware and understand their requirements to evacuate patients and get them to safer areas,” said Melanie MatneySCHA System Chief Operating Officer.

 This coordination is an example of the agency demonstrating leadership and collaboration with entities such as the SCHA. In addition, DHEC employees embrace service every day.

This commitment is further highlighted during emergency events such as a hurricane, in which hundreds of DHEC staff work together with our partners to directly assist in preparing for and responding to the storm while others volunteer and/or take on extra duties to ensure that our day-to-day operations remained intact.

Learn more about DHEC’s response efforts to Hurricane Dorian.

Find Healthcare Services with DHEC’s “Find a Facility” Interactive Map

The start of a new year brings New Year’s resolutions, many of which are related to improving our health. Let DHEC help you find the healthcare facilities that can assist you with your resolutions by using our Find a Facility interactive map.

Accessible on any Internet-connected device, Find a Facility is an interactive map identifying all DHEC-licensed healthcare facilities. The map allows users to search for specific facilities or filter facility types based on the user’s preferences.

Licensed healthcare facilities available in the map:

  • Adult Day Care Facilities
  • Ambulatory Surgical Facilities
  • Birthing Centers
  • Body Piercing Facilities
  • Community Residential Care Facilities
  • Hearing Aid Specialists (permanent and temporary)
  • Home Health Agencies
  • Hospice Facilities and Programs
  • Hospitals
  • Intermediate Care Facilities (15-bed and +16-bed building types)
  • In-Home Care Providers
  • PSAD Facilities (inpatient and outpatient types)
  • Licensed Midwives
  • Midwife Apprentices
  • Nursing Homes
  • Renal Dialysis Facilities
  • Residential Treatment Facilities for Children and Adolescents
  • Tattoo Facilities

“This application is designed to help individuals conduct their own research on healthcare facilities and services,” said Gwendolyn Thompson, interim deputy director of Health Regulation. “Whether seeking a licensed tattoo facility or trying to find an in-home care provider, this map makes it easy to find important information all in one place.”

Clicking a pin on the zoomable map opens a detailed window for an individual facility that provides the following information:

  • Facility name
  • Facility physical address
  • Facility phone number
  • Facility administrator’s name and direct phone number
  • Facility email address (multiple, if applicable)
  • Facility license number and expiration date
  • County and ownership type of facility
  • Facility mailing address
  • Facility licensee name, if different than facility name
  • Licensed room capacities, if applicable, including:
    • Certified number of operation rooms
    • Certified number of endoscopy rooms
    • Certified number of procedure rooms
  • Regulation(s) that the facility complies with

Find a Facility is a public-use, interactive map and database, developed as a result of joint efforts between DHEC’s Health Regulations and GIS teams.

“This free application allows us to share our resources with the community at large,” said Veronica Moore, GIS program manager. “We encourage healthcare facilities, medical professionals and the general public to take advantage of the application and the valuable data it offers.”

January is National Radon Action Month

January is National Radon Action Month, and DHEC is encouraging all South Carolinians to test their homes for radon.

Radon is a cancer causing, radioactive gas that you cannot see, smell, or taste, and is responsible for more than 21,000 deaths in the U.S. each year.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S. and the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. Smokers who are exposed to radon have an even higher risk of lung cancer.

Nearly one out of every 15 homes in the U.S. is estimated to have elevated radon levels. Any home can have a radon gas problem. The only way to determine if your home is trapping radon is to test.

Each year, the South Carolina Radon Program provides a limited number of radon test kits to homeowners free of charge. Request your free home test kit at www.scdhec.gov/radon.

Homes can be modified to reduce radon levels, and new homes can be built with radon-resistant features. South Carolina has nationally certified radon professionals who can measure radon and fix homes with elevated radon. Find a certified mitigation specialist.

Governor’s Proclamation

South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster issued an official proclamation recognizing January 2020 as Radon Action Month.

From Other Blogs: New Nutrient Content Information Now Available Online, How to Stop Spreading Germs, Addressing Antibiotic Resistance

A collection of health and environmental posts from other governmental blogs.

New Nutrient Content Information Now Online

Have you ever wanted to view food sources of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients in your diet? The National Agricultural Library’s Food and Nutrition Information Center now houses 36 tables of foods according to their nutrient content. The tables are available for vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and macronutrients and are listed in household measure from the highest to lowest in nutrient content. – From U.S. Department of Agriculture’s blog

 

Stop Spreading Germs: Tips for Parents and Kids

It’s something all parents dread – a call from the school nurse telling you that your child is sick. We usually wonder how they got it and how to prevent everyone else in the family from catching it too. Katie Schill, nurse practitioner with Prisma Health Telehealth, offers some tips to share with your children on how to prevent the spread of illnesses. And if you do find yourself with an ill child, when to keep them home from school. – From Flourish, Prisma Health’s blog

 

Urgent Care Collaborating to Address Antibiotic Resistance

Laurel Stoimenoff, PT CHC Chief Executive Officer of the Urgent Care Association (UCA) and its member are concerned about the looming antibiotic resistance crisis. In collaboration with the College of Urgent Care Medicine (CUCM), we have decided to be part of the solution. From Safe Healthcare, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) blog

 

Tandem Health of Sumter Chosen as the 2019 HPV Vaccine is Cancer Prevention Champion for Preventing HPV Cancers in South Carolina

HPV is Cancer Prevention Champion, an award created by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Association of American Cancer Institutes (AACI), and the American Cancer Society (ACS), recognizes clinicians, clinics, practices, groups and health systems that offer exceptional HPV vaccination among adolescents in their community. This award honors one Champion in each state as well as Champions from the eight United States territories and District of Columbia. Tandem Health of Sumter is South Carolina’s winner for 2019.

Tandem Health is a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) and accredited patient-centered medical home (PCMH) that provides comprehensive, personalized healthcare services regardless of the patient’s ability to pay. In January 2019, Tandem Health joined the South Carolina Primary Health Care Association and American Cancer Society as a member system of the South Carolina HPV Cancer Free Learning Collaborative. Tandem has served as a peer mentor for the additional seven FQHC member systems, sharing examples of the implemented evidence-based strategies and quality improvement processes. Because of these efforts, Tandem Health has gone from a 39% HPV vaccine series completion rate among adolescent patients at January 1, 2019 to a 78% completion rate by the end of August 2019.

Tandem Health is dedicated to improving the health of our boys and girls in South Carolina. DHEC is proud and honored to congratulate Tandem Health on this well-deserved award.

Receiving the HPV vaccine is important because it protects against cancers caused by human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. HPV is a very common virus; nearly 79 million people are currently infected in the United States. Every year in the United States, nearly 35,000 women and men are estimated to be diagnosed with a cancer caused by HPV infection. HPV vaccination could prevent more than 90% of these cancers—more than 32,000 cases every year—from ever developing. Both boys and girls should get two doses of the HPV vaccine series when they are 11 or 12 years old. The HPV vaccine series can be started as early as age 9. HPV vaccine is one of 4 vaccines teens should get when they are age 11 or 12.  All teens also need a Tdap (whooping cough) booster, meningitis vaccine, and a yearly flu vaccine.

To read Tandem Health’s profile on the CDC’s website, and to learn more about HPV Vaccine is Cancer Prevention Champion Award program, please visit https://www.cdc.gov/hpv/champions/2019-winners.html#sc .