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Transforming Health Care
in the Midlands

By Carrie Anna Strange

As the area’s health care leader, McLeod Health Clarendon continues to fulfill its mission to improve the health and well-being of the residents in Clarendon and surrounding communities.

Clarendon Health System joined McLeod Health on July 12, 2016 and began a season of transformation that continues even today. “As a testament of our commitment, we are continually developing plans to expand our services, staff and medical capabilities,” explained Rachel Gainey, McLeod Health Clarendon Administrator.

The highly-skilled physicians and medical staff at McLeod Clarendon provide a wide range of services from Emergency and Critical Care to Labor and Delivery and Surgery.

The hospital also offers Infusion, a Sleep Lab, Radiology, Laboratory, a Wound Care Center and a Swing Bed Unit. In addition, Cardiac, Speech, Physical and Occupational Rehabilitation services are located at McLeod Health and Fitness Center Clarendon. Also available at the hospital are Cardiology, General Surgery, Orthopedics and Urology specialty services. The continuum of care for patients outside the hospital setting is provided by Home Health, Hospice, Nurse-Family Partnership, Sports Medicine and Occupational Health.

Renovation and Expansion
Numerous projects have been completed to renovate and modernize areas within McLeod Health Clarendon. These efforts include the recent expansion of the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), which has been crucial in the care of COVID-19 patients.

The expansion offers increased square footage to allow for more spacious patient rooms and a designated exam room. There is also a private family consult room for providers to meet with family members as well as a family waiting room.

“When patients suffer a critical illness or injury, they want quality care close to home,” stated Rachel. “Our ICU patient volumes have rapidly grown over the past few years. Not only does this renovation underscore our continued investment and commitment to bring quality health care to Clarendon and all communities from the midlands to the coast, but it also allows patients and their families to heal and recover close to home.”

McLeod Medical Plaza Clarendon also recently underwent its initial phase of development with the addition of the new McLeod Family Medicine Rural Residency Program, McLeod Primary Care Clarendon, McLeod Rehabilitation Clarendon and The Spa at McLeod Health Clarendon.

The second phase of development will include additional medical office space for primary and specialty care services. Expected completion of phase two is late fall 2021.

Increasing Access to Primary Care and Specialty Services
To increase access to primary care, the McLeod Family Medicine Rural Residency Program launched its first class of residents in June 2020.

The mission of the McLeod Family Medicine Residency Program is to graduate skilled physicians committed to intensive training in caring for patients and practicing the full scope of Family Medicine, particularly in rural settings.

Resident physicians train in the Family Medicine specialty under the close supervision of physician faculty. They provide care for the entire family -- from delivering babies to end-of-life care -- including pediatrics, women’s and men’s health and obstetrics. Residents care for patients both in the office and in the hospital. Family Medicine Residents Dr. Kevin Londe, Dr. Laine Way, Dr. Jessica Gordon, Dr. Cecilia Ralyea, Dr. Jarrod Mullen, Dr. Maxwell Pickering and Dr. Riley Little serve patients at McLeod Primary Care Clarendon.

“Expanding the McLeod Family Medicine training program into the Manning community provides much needed access to physicians, enhances recruitment efforts, and affords physicians the opportunity to practice medicine in a small community setting,” explains Rachel.

In addition to the residency program, McLeod Health welcomed several new providers in 2020 to include General Surgeon Dr. Danielle Saldana with McLeod Surgery Clarendon; Hospitalist and Board Certified Cardiologist Dr. John Rozich; Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Rodney Alan with McLeod Orthopaedics Clarendon and McLeod Orthopaedics Sumter; Dr. Michael Ouzts with Palmetto Adult Medicine; and Certified Nurse Midwife Allison Saran with McLeod Women’s Care Clarendon.

Additionally, McLeod Primary Care Turbeville was established in the late summer of 2020. Family Nurse Practitioners Amanda McConnell and Abbie Kirby provide primary care for adults and children.

“We are pleased to provide convenient access to primary care in the Turbeville community,” said Rachel. “In a time when access to health care is crucial having local providers for primary care is essential in meeting one’s health care needs.”

Advancements in Technology
McLeod Health Clarendon now offers patients more advanced imaging services through a newly installed CT Scanner and 3D Mammography unit, which includes a breast biopsy attachment.

“Three-dimensional mammography allows early detection and diagnosis of breast cancer and is a highly effective tool in detecting breast cancer long before any physical symptoms develop. Early detection is documented to be critical in reducing mortality rates,” Rachel explained. “With the new CT Scanner, we can produce higher quality images with lower radiation and more efficiency.

“This means quicker treatment of acute issues like stroke, which are very time sensitive. It is our mission to continue providing the most advanced diagnostic imaging equipment for our patients.”

Installation of a new, state-of-the-art MRI has also begun. With the addition of the new technology, physicians will be able to receive more complex imaging faster. This will provide patients at McLeod Health Clarendon earlier diagnoses.

Additionally, patients will now be able to receive Breast Magnetic Resonance Imaging. This is used as a supplement to mammography and ultrasound imaging for the detection, treatment and monitoring of breast cancer and other possible breast abnormalities.

Quality Health Care
McLeod Health Clarendon has achieved many noteworthy accomplishments to ensure high quality health care for the patients it serves.

McLeod Health Clarendon was recently awarded an ‘A’ in the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade, a national distinction recognizing the hospital’s achievements in protecting patients from harm and providing safer health care. The Leapfrog Group is an independent national organization committed to health care quality and safety. The Safety Grade assigns an ‘A’, ‘B’, ‘C’, ‘D’ or ‘F’ grade to all general hospitals across the country and is updated every six months. Grades are based on a hospital’s performance in preventing medical errors, injuries, accidents, infections and other harm to patients in their care.

Additionally, the hospital achieved the Healthgrades 2020 Outstanding Patient Experience Award™. This distinction recognizes McLeod Health Clarendon as being among the top 15 percent of hospitals nationwide for patient experience, according to Healthgrades, the leading resource that connects consumers, physicians and health systems.

“McLeod Health Clarendon is pleased to receive these quality recognitions achieved through the teamwork and dedication of our entire hospital staff. However, our pursuit of quality improvement is unending. These accomplishments are a positive step in our patient experience and quality journey, yet we recognize that we can never stop improving care for patients. Health care is constantly becoming more complex and challenging, and our team is committed to providing the best care possible to our patients both now and in the future,” added Rachel.