Tag Archives: awards

Health Regulation Team Honored for Outstanding Effort in Patient Safety Work

By Jim Beasley
photo above: Shelly B. Kelly, Yolanda Holloman, Tamara Grant, Barbara Brague and MaryJo Rooue

Sometimes, regulating leads to the need for swift action.

Emergency actions taken by DHEC Health Regulations staff following an unannounced complaint investigation at an ambulatory surgery center have earned recognition from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Their efforts also exemplified the agency’s core value of promoting teamwork.

It was April 2015 when registered nurses Tamara Grant and Yolanda Holloman from DHEC’s Bureau of Certification visited a site and found that the facility was placing its patients in “Immediate Jeopardy,” the formal term for a crisis situation in which the health and safety of individuals are at risk. Serious violations were found, including practices covering infection control and surgical services.

The team collaborated with the Bureau of Health Facilities Licensing and the Division of Acute Disease Epidemiology, finding several areas at the facility requiring an urgent plan of correction. Bureau of Health Facilities Licensing staff referred the center’s medical director for review by another state agency, while Division of Acute Disease Epidemiology staff conducted a contact investigation of patients and collaborated with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for additional guidance.

CMS Award_2

Eva Johnson, Lorie Sanders, Tamara Grant, Sandra Johnson, Barbara Brague and Yolanda Holloman

Barbara Brague, a registered nurse with the Bureau of Certification, helped guide the inspectors in the field during a situation that proved a challenging experience for all. She interacted with the other DHEC bureaus and worked closely with the CMS regional office to determine whether the facility’s correction plan was acceptable.

DHEC surveyors conducted follow-up inspections in May and June 2015 to verify that corrections were made and to ensure the facility complied with federal regulations and conditions.

This shining example of cooperation and collaboration among bureaus demonstrates the importance of communication across the agency and with our partners.

Congratulations to all staff involved in this extraordinary effort for helping to protect the health and safety of patients. The award is well-deserved.

McBride Wins S.C. Palmetto Gold Nurse Recognition Award

By Jim Beasley

Congratulations to Catherine (Kate) McBride, RN, MSN, on her selection for the prestigious S.C. Palmetto Gold Nurse Recognition award. She was one of 100 nurses recognized last month at the 15th Palmetto Gold Nurse Recognition and Scholarship Program.

“I am honored to be in the same company as the 114 DHEC public health nurses who were recognized before me with the Palmetto Gold award since this award’s inception 15 years ago,” said McBride. “I enjoy public health nursing because we not only impact the individual patient, but we also seek to positively impact the health of the community as well as the overall healthcare system.”

The South Carolina Nurses Foundation sponsors Palmetto Gold to recognize Registered Nurses in all practice settings in South Carolina who exemplify excellence in nursing practice and commitment to the nursing profession.

McBride, who currently serves as program director for the Pee Dee Public Health Region, began her work as a public health nurse in 2007. During her tenure as program director, nurses within the region have gained independence and increased accountability for individual clinical practice. The Nurse Family Partnership and the Children with Special Healthcare Needs programs have been recognized internally and externally for achieving high service standards.

McBride’s leadership has moved the region forward in quality nursing practice and client-centered customer service.

“I also recognize that this award for me is as much a reflection of the front line nurses working in the Pee Dee Public Health Region,” McBride added. “It is the work they do each day in our clinics and out in the community that truly shines.”

Sechler Named DHEC Law Enforcement Officer of the Year

By Mary-Kathryn Craft

Congratulations to Officer Dennis Sechler of the Shellfish Sanitation Program for being named DHEC’s 2015 Law Enforcement Officer of the Year.

LEODSechlerOfficer Sechler, who works in the Myrtle Beach Office in the Pee Dee Environmental Quality Control Region, accepted the award on Thursday from Director Catherine Heigel.

“He constantly helps other agencies and works tireless hours with new employees to instill the same values he believes in, which is a commitment to excellence as a public servant and in government,” explained his supervisor Mike Marshall. “But more than anything else, Officer Sechler is an unbelievably caring person with more character, honor, and integrity than most can wish for.”

A member of the Regional Emergency Response Team and the field training officer for the Shellfish Program, Officer Sechler exemplifies our agency’s core values of promoting teamwork and embracing service.

He assisted in developing the Shellfish Law Enforcement Training Curriculum for new Shellfish Law Enforcement Officers that complete the S.C. Criminal Justice Academy. This includes both classroom and hands-on training for new officers.

The primary goal of our shellfish program is to ensure that shellfish and the areas from which they are harvested meet the health and environmental quality standards provided by federal guidelines and state regulations. The patrol activities conducted by our Shellfish Officers play an important role in helping the program meet its goals. These patrols are conducted on foot, by boat and on land vehicles.

In addition to his regular duties and conducting weekend, holiday and night-time patrols, Officer Sechler has assisted the S.C. Department of Natural Resources with fish and wildlife cases and the Coast Guard with removal of sunken vessels from waterways and marinas to ensure no pollution is released to harm the environment or public health.

Congratulations and thank you for your service, Officer Sechler!

DHEC Awards South Carolina Water Utilities for Achieving Optimal Quality Standards

By Bryony Wardell

Pictured above: Columbia Lake Murray Water Treatment Plant was one of the 2014 AWOP Award Recipients. 

Congratulations to the 34 South Carolina water treatment plants who were recently honored by S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control for their achievements in meeting the Area-Wide Optimization Program (AWOP) water quality goals. The recognized plants voluntarily increased filtration and treatment systems to help protect and serve the health of the public – achieving water quality that is about 10 times better than regulatory standards.

DHEC Director of Environmental Affairs Myra Reece and Interim Bureau of Water Chief David Baize presented the awards at the annual surface water systems meeting on December 9, 2015.

“The AWOP goals that were set for settled and filtered water turbidity are rigorous – no system meets the performance goals by accident,” said Baize. “These water plants demonstrate to the state and to EPA Region 4 their dedication to maximizing public health by providing the great  water quality to their customers.”

Systems Meeting Both AWOP Goals in 2014

System Receiving Plant Raw

Avg

Settled

95th

Filtered

95th

Pop.

Served

Anderson Co Regional Lake Hartwell WTP 2.79 0.51 0.09 116,789
Beaufort-Jasper W&SA Chelsea WTP 26.67 1.69 0.05 102,005
Beaufort-Jasper W&SA Purrysburg WTP 5.52 1.13 0.06 58,849
Catawba River Catawba River WTP 14.78 0.71 0.09 200,025
Charleston Water System Hanahan WTP 2.68 0.51 0.09 306,800
City of Aiken Shaws Creek WTP 6.70 0.36 0.07 16,393
City of Camden Camden WTP 13.61 1.48 0.07 15,613
City of Cayce Stanley L. Goodwin WTP 7.99 1.16 0.08 17,272
City of Clinton Clinton WTP 18.30 1.96 0.07 18,350
City of Columbia Columbia Lake Murray WTP 4.63 0.50 0.09 148,576
City of Georgetown Georgetown WTP 16.20 0.67 0.08 10,060
City of Florence Pee Dee River Regional WTP 19.94 1.41 0.10 67,965
City of North Augusta North Augusta WTP 10.45 1.38 0.06 28,608
City of Rock Hill Rock Hill WTP 10.00 1.33 0.03 81,056
City of Seneca Seneca WTP 1.16 0.64 0.08 43,765
City of Union Union WTP 12.56 0.54 0.04 24,617
Easley Central WD Easley Central WD WTP 9.91 0.92 0.08 9,715
Easley Combined Utilities Easley Combined WTP 22.37 1.20 0.06 62,153
Edgefield County W&SA Edgefield County WTP 18.17 1.47 0.08 25,856
Gaffney Victor WTP 8.69 0.60 0.09 34,409
Georgetown County WSD Waccamaw Regional WTP 13.26 0.64 0.07 37,640
Grand Strand W&SA Myrtle Beach WTP 9.16 0.56 0.08 28,681
Greenville Water System Adkins WTP 1.04 0.44 0.05 176,346
Greenville Water System Stovall WTP 0.43 0.19 0.04 195,941
Greenwood CPW WR Wise WTP 10.67 0.85 0.08 52,075
Greer CPW Greer WTP 6.64 0.56 0.04 56,064
Lake Marion Regional Lake Marion Regional WTP* 9.00 1.00 0.02 3,267
Lugoff Elgin Water Authority Lugoff Elgin WTP 9.96 0.58 0.09 18,057
Orangeburg DPU John F. Pearson WTP 3.03 0.41 0.08 44,813
Santee Cooper Regional Santee Cooper Regional WTP 2.41 0.42 0.03 152,923
SJWD SJWD WTP 10.58 1.66 0.07 39,939
Spartanburg Water System Landrum WTP 7.90 0.75 0.06 4,022
Town of Whitmire Whitmire WTP 29.00 1.92 0.07 2,358
Woodruff Roebuck Woodruff Roebuck WTP 18.26 0.83 0.08 24,904
Total         2,225,906

The numbers in the table represent measures of water turbidity. Turbidity is a measure of the cloudiness of the water.  The first Raw water turbidity is measured before any treatment is done, the Settled water turbidity is measured about halfway through the treatment process and the Filtered is measured after the water has been filtered.  The filtered water regulatory standard is 0.3 Nephelometric Turbidity Unit (NTU.) There’s no regulatory limits on the raw or settled water.

Pee Dee Regional AWOP award 2014

Pee Dee River Regional Water Treatment Plant receiving its AWOP award.

The 34 plants that were recognized serve 2.25 million South Carolinians, or about 75 percent of the population that gets water from a surface water plant. This year Lake Marion Regional Water Treatment Plant was recognized for attaining five years of meeting the AWOP goals – joining the ranks of other high-achieving water systems who have made optimization a priority for many years. DHEC collaborates with utilities across the state – providing consultative support and resources to improve water quality for all South Carolinians.

DHEC’s core focus for water quality standards includes eliminating water pathogens like Cryptosporidium and other contaminants that can pose a threat to public health. Once optimization of these standards is achieved, additional water quality goals include a focus on the control of disinfection byproducts, which represent a major challenge for water systems over large areas of the country.

DHEC became a charter member of the EPA Region 4 AWOP in 1997, and South Carolina has been continually identified as a national leader for the program.

“From the support of senior levels of management right through to the ranks of staff in DHEC’s Drinking Water Protection Division, the continued commitment shown by this agency is second to none among states involved in the program,” said Dale Froneberger with EPA Region 4 Drinking Water Section.

The program provides tools and best practices for drinking water systems to meet water quality optimization goals and provide an increased – and sustainable – level of public health protection to their consumers. The 34 plants recognized this year in South Carolina join a group of 117 treatment plants in the Southeast that together provided enhanced levels of health protection to 8.2 million people during the year.

For more information on drinking water in South Carolina, click here or contact DHEC Drinking Water Permitting & Compliance Manager, Richard Welch at WELCHRA@dhec.sc.gov.

Spare the Air Awards

By Bryony Wardell

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) is pleased to announce the latest winners of the Spare the Air Awards.  The annual awards honor individuals, businesses, schools, communities and organizations who have made a voluntary contribution to the improvement of air quality in South Carolina.

“Clean, healthy air is an important natural resource that benefits everyone,” said Myra Reece, DHEC’s director of environmental affairs. “This award program celebrates the collaborative efforts of our partners and neighbors who are helping to drive continuous improvement of air quality across the state.”

Congratulations to the Spare The Air Award recipients!

Forest Lake Presbyterian Church
Outstanding Community Improvement Campaign Award
Forest Lake Presbyterian Church was awarded for their efforts to reduce vehicle emissions. The church established an organic garden and collaborated with Harvest Food Bank to distribute locally grown produce to communities, minimizing the need for large trucks  on the highway.

Forest Lake Presbyterian Church

Dr. Reverend Ellen Skidmore accepting the award for Forest Lake Presbyterian Church.

Rock Hill School District Three of York County
Outstanding School District Award
The district’s Energy Management Program saves an estimated $2 million a year. It features outreach activities including a door decal and light switch design contest, an energy shutdown contest and a web-based energy tracking tool.

Rock Hill District 3 Spare the Air.jpg

L-R: Eddie Robinson, facilities trades manager; Kim Melander, district energy manager; Robbie Brown, division director, DHEC; and Brian Vaughan, facilities director.

The University of South Carolina
Outstanding University Award
 The University of South Carolina was awarded for developing strategies to reduce vehicle and facility emissions; improve bicycle, pedestrian and mass transit options; and provide sustainable education opportunities for its campus community.

USC 2015 Spare the Air
L-R Michael Koman, director of USC’s Office of Sustainability; Rhonda Thompson, interim chief, DHEC Bureau of Air; Dr. Harris Pastides, president of USC; Tom Syfert, director of USC’s Environmental Health Safety. 

The City of Seneca/Clemson Area Transit
Outstanding Local Government
The City of Seneca received a Spare the Air Award for becoming the first municipality in the country to run an all-electric mass transit system. The electric fleet was manufactured by Greenville-based Proterra Inc. and is part of the Clemson Area Transit system. These actions reduced harmful emissions and saved money on fuel cost.

Seneca CATBus STA Award 201509

City of Clemson Mayor J.C. Cook, DHEC Environmental Affairs Director Myra Reece and Seneca Mayor Don Alexander at the Spare The Air Award ceremony for Outstanding Local Government.

Enter the Spare The Air Awards!
Have you worked on a voluntary initiative or idea in 2015 that helped improve air quality in South Carolina? Apply for the 2016 Spare the Air Awards for a chance to be recognized by the state for your work! Entries must be received by February 1, 2016. Click here to apply!