McLeod Health receives grants from Duke Endowment
The McLeod Health Foundation has received two grants from The Duke Endowment totaling $1,225,000 to provide home-based primary care to patients in rural communities through nurse-facilitated tele-health as well as expand school-based tele-health programs in five rural counties in South Carolina.
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.
The foundation received $525,000 from the endowment to provide home-based primary care to patients in rural communities through nurse-facilitated tele-health. Residents of Chesterfield, Marlboro, Clarendon and Williamsburg counties face significant barriers to accessing primary care. Seventy-five percent of people in the four-county area live in rural environments, while 25 percent live in poverty. Many patients are forced to travel long distances, often without reliable transportation.
In addition, these areas suffer from some of the state’s poorest health outcomes. Rates of avoidable hospitalizations across the four counties are 29 percent higher than statewide rates. Of 8,349 patients across McLeod Family Medicine sites in Cheraw and Manning, 19 percent have diabetes and 58 percent have hypertension. Patients also face difficulties accessing care, as evidenced by the practices’ missed appointment rates. This in turn leads to downstream health problems.
Regular monitoring of hypertensive and diabetic patients is especially crucial. Yet, across the Cheraw and Manning Family Medicine practices, more than one in 10 diabetic patients do not receive adequate A1c monitoring. Likewise, many hypertensive patients are not having their blood pressure monitored adequately – 37 percent have not received a documented blood pressure check within the last six months.
This program uses tele-medicine technology to connect patients in Chesterfield, Marlboro, Clarendon and Williamsburg counties from their homes to physicians at the McLeod Family Medicine offices in Cheraw and Manning.
Licensed practical nurses will facilitate these remote visits, traveling to patients’ homes equipped with everything needed to provide a complete primary care encounter. Patients will be seen by primary care physicians on staff at the two McLeod Family Medicine offices. Often, these physicians will be residents of the McLeod Family Medicine Rural Track Residency Program.
This model will allow for unprecedented insight into patients’ home environments. This will allow for the ability to uncover social determinants of health in ways traditional office visits and video-only tele-health visits never could.
The foundation also received $700,000 to expand school-based telehealth programs in five rural counties in South Carolina. This program addresses lack of care access for school-aged children across Chesterfield, Marlboro, Clarendon, Williamsburg and lower Florence counties.
Most of South Carolina’s underfunded public-school system runs through the Pee Dee region. Forty-three percent of Marlboro County children live in poverty, more than double the national rate.