Tag Archives: hospitalizations

South Carolina Health at a Glance: Access to Healthcare

Our next installment of the 2018 Live Healthy State Health Assessment summaries covers access to healthcare.  Because the document is 346 pages, we will summarize each section.  Check out our previous posts:  overview of the report, South Carolina demographics, leading causes of death and hospitalization, and cross-cutting.  Data is analyzed from 2010-2016.

Access to health care refers to the ability of residents in a community to find a consistent medical provider for their primary and specialty care needs and ability to receive that care without encountering significant barriers.  Special populations who may face unique barriers include those who are experiencing homelessness or mental illness, lacking adequate health insurance, or non-English speakers such as some immigrants and refugees.

Primary Care Physicians

Primary care physicians specialize in family medicine, internal medicine, obstetrics/gynecology, and pediatrics.  They provide preventative care, identify and treat common conditions, and make referrals to specialists as needed.  Typically people with familiar primary care physicians have better chronic disease management, lower overall health care costs, and a higher level of satisfaction with their care.

According to America’s Health Rankings, in 2017, South Carolina ranked 36th in the nation for the number of primary care physicians per 10,000 residents.  The counties with the highest rates of primary care physicians in 2015 were Charleston, Greenwood, and Greenville.

Physician Assistants

Physician assistants are certified medical professionals who can give medical and surgical care in teams with physicians.  They can practice under the direction of a physician to diagnose, treat, and prescribe medicine.  The ratio of physician assistants increased from 1.5 physician assistants per 10,000 residents in 2009 to 2.5 physician assistants per 10,000 residents in 2015.

Nurse Practitioners

Nurse practitioners have clinical knowledge and skills to provide direct patient care.  They have the authority to prescribe medications and can also be utilized in rural communities, which often lack primary care providers.  South Carolina saw a 50% increase in the ratio of nurse practitioners from 2009 to 2015.

Health Insurance Coverage Among Adults

The Kaiser Family Foundation estimated 550,000 South Carolinians were without health insurance in 2016.  Although the number of insured adults in South Carolina increased from 2008 to 2015, the rate was below the United States, as well as the Healthy People 2020 target.  In 2015, 85.7% of South Carolina women were insured compared to 81.6% of men.

Health Care Insurance_Health Assessment

Delayed Medical Care

Worse health outcomes and higher medical expenditures are often results of delayed medical care.  Late diagnosis and advanced disease may require more extensive services.  Being insured and having access to affordable medical care could increase utilization of preventive health care services.

Delayed medical care_Health assessment

In South Carolina in 2016, 21.2% of Hispanic/Latinos delayed healthcare due to cost, compared to 18.8% of non-Hispanic Blacks and 13.7% of non-Hispanic Whites.  More women delayed medical care due to cost than men.

For more information about avoidable hospitalizations and emergency department visits, the leading causes of hospitalizations among children, and oral health, read the full chapter about Access to Health Care.

 

DHEC in the News: Narcan, flu, litter control

Here’s a look at health and environmental news from around South Carolina.

Myrtle Beach Police saved most lives with Narcan in South Carolina in 2018, DHEC says

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – The Department of Health and Environmental Control says the Myrtle Beach Police Department saved the most lives from overdoses using Narcan than any other law enforcement agency in the state.

According to DHEC, the Myrtle Beach Police Department administered Narcan 21 times in 2018, and eight times in 2017.

Flu activity decreases in SC, deaths increase

Now that we’re getting into the typical peak of flu season in South Carolina, a decrease in activity may provide a false sense of security.

The Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) puts out a weekly “Flu Watch” report. The most up-do-date numbers posted on their website showed a decrease in flu activity across the state for the second week of January.

However, there was a surge in the number of flu-related deaths.

PalmettoPride Releases 2018 Litter Control Report Numbers

PalmettoPride announced this week the 2018 Litter Control Enforcement Grant ticket numbers. From the 24 enforcement agencies that received a 2017-2018 Enforcement Grant, reports indicate that a total of $341,306.73 in fines were collected from 898 successfully prosecuted cases.

Many of the reporting agencies utilize both state statues and local ordinances when addressing littering and illegal dumping.

DHEC in the News: Flu

Here’s a look at health and environmental news from around South Carolina.

14 flu deaths reported in South Carolina

COLUMBIA, SC (WCBD) – The Department of Health and Environmental Control says three people in South Carolina died from the flu last week, raising the death toll for this season to 14.

Flu activity on the rise in South Carolina, other southern states

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The flu is now widespread in Alabama — and it’s expected to increase, federal health officials reported.

Alabama is among 19 states reporting high levels of influenza in a recent report to the Centers for Disease Control, Al.com reported.

General interest

US Flu Season Poised to Be Milder Than Last Year’s Harsh One

NEW YORK (AP) — It’s early, but the current flu season is shaping up to be gentler than last winter’s unusually brutal one, U.S. health officials said.

In most parts of the country, most illnesses right now are being caused by a flu strain that leads to fewer hospitalizations and deaths as the kind of flu that dominated a year ago, according to officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Vaccines also work better against it, said the CDC’s Dr. Alicia Fry.

DHEC in the News: Flu cases on the rise, avoiding carbon monoxide poisoning

Here’s a look at health and environmental news from around South Carolina.

Flu cases on the rise in South Carolina, Charleston County

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) – Flu hospitalizations more than doubled in South Carolina during a two-week stretch in December, according to a recent report from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.

The report compared flu cases during the weeks of Dec. 10-17 and Dec. 17-23.

Doctors in Charleston County have noticed the spike in flu cases as well.

DHEC provides tips to avoid Carbon Monoxide poisoning

COLUMBIA, SC (FOX Carolina) – The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) is providing tips for avoiding Carbon Monoxide poisoning as cold weather spreads across the state.

According to DHEC, nine South Carolinians die every year from carbon monoxide poisoning. DHEC lists gas-powered generators, charcoal grills, propane stoves, charcoal briquettes, motor vehicles, boats, power washers and other gas powered tools as sources of carbon monoxide poisoning.

General Interest

CDC: 36 states report widespread flu virus

OCEAN TOWNSHIP – According to the Centers for Disease Control, 36 states are reporting widespread flu virus.

Doctors say there’s still time to get a flu shot. Inside Central Jersey Urgent Care, Dr. Markintosh Barthelemy has diagnosed 20 patients with the flu this week. Nearly all had one common denominator: Only one of the patients had the flu vaccine.