McLeod Health Foundation Receives Grants Totaling More Than $2 Million from The Duke Endowment


The McLeod Health Foundation has received two grants from The Duke Endowment totaling $2,521,000 to develop a Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) treatment and screening plan for the Pee Dee region as well as implement an oral health system integrated delivery model.

These grants support the mission of McLeod Health, which is to improve the overall health and well-being of people living within South Carolina and eastern North Carolina by providing excellence in health care.

Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome Treatment and Screening Plan
The McLeod Health Foundation received $500,000 to develop a Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) treatment and screening plan for the Pee Dee region.

Rates of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome, a condition caused by an infant’s exposure to drugs in the womb, are exploding throughout America. Incidences of the condition have quadrupled from 1999 to 2013. In rural areas, the increase was greater than six times. NAS rates in South Carolina have doubled from 2010 to 2015.

As the Regional Perinatal Center, McLeod Regional Medical Center ensures that high-risk mothers and babies throughout the Pee Dee get proper care by both educating staff at the referring hospitals and serving as the region’s referral center.

Two key goals of this program include creating a consistent NAS treatment and screening plan and distributing it to the referring hospitals as well as ensuring that each referring hospital, via telemedicine solutions, has access to a neonatologist at McLeod Regional Medical Center.

The screening plan and telehealth connections will aid referring hospitals in identifying NAS babies quickly to facilitate a timely transfer to McLeod Regional Medical Center.

Another component of this program will include provider education. In an effort to prevent NAS births, the program will educate local physicians and their staffs on how to identify and address substance abuse in these patients. Additionally, connections will be formed between these providers and local mental health facilities to cultivate effective communication and encourage referrals. Getting treatment for substance-abusing mothers before they give birth is the best way to address NAS in our region.

Oral Health System Integrated Delivery Model
The McLeod Health Foundation received $2,021,000 to implement an oral health system integrated delivery model.

Medicaid and uninsured patients in our region often lack access to dental care, and oral health issues, if untreated, can result in visits to the Emergency Department.

It has been established for one patient population that addressing unmet dental needs not only improves oral health but chronic disease outcomes such as uncontrolled diabetes. Systemic inflammation, which can originate in the gums, elevates A1C levels. By controlling the inflammation through routine cleaning that involves going below the gum line, the clinical team has a better chance of reducing A1C levels.

This grant provides funding for the creation of a new model for addressing the oral health needs of diabetes patients by integrating oral health promotion, risk assessment and treatment completion both within the McLeod Health system as well as community partners.

In particular, the program seeks to ensure that family medicine, pediatric, and other providers involved in caring for patients with uncontrolled diabetes become competent in 1) identifying oral health issues, 2) providing preventative oral health services (i.e., fluoride varnishing for children), and 3) collaborating with dentists.

HopeHealth, Inc., a principal partner with this program, recently received a federal oral health expansion grant which allows for a new dental program to serve the vulnerable residents of Florence.

“We are fortunate to have the support of The Duke Endowment,” said Jill Bramblett, Executive Director of the McLeod Foundation. “With their help, we are striving to build healthier communities and continuing to develop the outstanding health care that McLeod has been a leader in for more than a century.”

About The Duke Endowment
Based in Charlotte and established in 1924 by industrialist and philanthropist James B. Duke, The Duke Endowment is a private foundation that strengthens communities in North Carolina and South Carolina by nurturing children, promoting health, educating minds and enriching spirits. Since its founding, it has distributed more than $3.4 billion in grants. The Endowment shares a name with Duke University and Duke Energy, but all are separate organizations.