McLeod Health receives $540,000 from Duke Endowment
The McLeod Health Foundation has received two grants from The Duke Endowment totaling $545,252 to increase access to care for individuals experiencing long-term health effects from COVID-19 as well as COVID-19 vaccinations.
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. T
he foundation received $170,252 from The Duke Endowment to increase access to care for individuals experiencing long-term health effects from COVID-19.
The challenges COVID-19 patients face are amplified in rural America, where access to care is historically inadequate, and economic and racial disparities are prevalent. These difficulties are especially apparent when COVID-19 patients suffer from chronic health conditions – which are more prevalent in rural areas and more apt to go undertreated because of limited access to healthcare. As a result, the McLeod Health Clarendon COVID-19 Post-Acute Clinic was established to enhance access and care for recently discharged patients. It provides the necessary link between hospitalization and eventual re-establishment into the primary care setting. The PAC serves as a critical link for patients who, due to their rural and economic status, have historically had limited access to any health care delivery system. It provides access to specialists needed to address the patient’s specific concerns via telehealth technology. Patients also have access to an array of testing crucial to monitoring the after-effects of COVID-19 (namely MRI, CT scans, blood gases and nuclear medicine). Once the patient’s condition is determined stable, patients will be reconnected to their family medicine physician. The foundation received $375,000 to increase access to COVID-19 vaccinations through a partnership with the Northeastern Rural Health Network. In order to loosen the pandemic’s grip on this region, McLeod Health remains dedicated to a targeted outreach effort into priority communities to build trust in the vaccine as well as increase access and remove barriers to receiving the vaccine.
McLeod Health will partner with NHRN to reach minority communities in Chesterfield, Marlboro and Dillon Counties by educating leaders and members of African American churches in their service area on the safety and benefits of the vaccine. McLeod Health will also partner with NRHN to establish vaccine distribution sites at these rural African American churches. Setting up vaccine sites at churches will be especially advantageous in this region’s remote, impoverished communities where residents may find traveling to McLeod Health hospitals difficult.
In addition, McLeod Health will utilize data analysis and hyper-targeted patient outreach to reach minority communities throughout the remainder of the Pee Dee region. To direct this vaccine outreach, a data scientist dedicated to this project will identify minority patients from the most vulnerable, hardest-to-reach communities.
This funding will also provide travel vouchers to make trips to vaccine sites more feasible. Patients with incomes at or below 200 percent of the poverty level will be eligible for this assistance. “We are fortunate to have the support of The Duke Endowment to greatly enhance the care our COVID-19 patients receive,” said Jill Bramblett, Executive Director of the McLeod Health Foundation. “With their help, we will continue to make a significant difference in the lives of patients affected by this illness as well as increase access to the COVID-19 vaccine.