MUSC Health opens drive-in labs for routine bloodwork, blood pressure checks

May 07, 2020
a masked, gloved and gowned woman preps the arm of a masked young man outside a brick building
Certified medical assistant Shaneka Richardson prepares to draw blood from Fran Collins at MUSC Health's drive-up lab in Summerville. Photos by Sarah Pack

MUSC Health-Charleston wants to ensure that patients feel safe when getting bloodwork and blood pressure checks done in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. 

The health system is opening drive-in lab work sites throughout the Tri-County area so that patients can get these routine checks done without entering a building.

“Patients – and it’s not just at MUSC but around the country – are really leery about going into medical facilities,” said John McDonald, M.D., medical director of primary care for MUSC-P, the MUSC physician's group.

Although MUSC Health has set up stringent protocols in its buildings to reduce the risk to both employees and patients, McDonald recognizes that many are still worried about entering an enclosed space. Setting up outdoor blood draw clinics at existing primary care locations allows MUSC Health to continue to provide care for needs that don’t go away, whether it’s checking glucose levels for people with diabetes or to see how a medication is working or running routine labs for an annual physical.

McDonald noted that many of MUSC Health’s providers have moved to a virtual care model during the pandemic. However, some things still need to be done in person.

a masked, gloved and gowned woman preps the arm of a masked older man outside a brick building 
Stephen Nunn takes advantage of the drive-up lab at MUSC Health Springview Primary Care on Thursday.

At each of the sites, signs will direct patients to drive to a tented location in the parking lot. Patients will first be screened for symptoms of COVID-19; if they haven’t had symptoms, they’ll be given masks and directed onward. They’ll be greeted by gloved and masked staff, then exit the car for the actual blood draw.

Patients must have an order from a doctor to go to one of the sites. Also, McDonald emphasized, neither COVID-19 diagnostic nor antibody testing is available at these sites. People seeking those tests will be directed to the correct sites.

McDonald said it took people from multiple departments, including clinical departments, supply chain, office managers and more, to implement this system in less than a week. The health system will continue to offer the drive-in labs as long as necessary, he said.


Springview Primary Care 

Monday through Friday: 8 to 11:30 a.m.
87 Springview Lane
Summerville, SC 29483
The site is located at the covered back patio

Health East 

Monday, Wednesday and Friday: 8:15 a.m. to noon 
1600 Midtown Avenue
Mount Pleasant, SC 29464
The site is located in the parking lot by the side employee entrance. Labs only; no blood pressure checks. 

Rutledge Tower

Tuesday and Thursday, 8 to 11 a.m. 
135 Rutledge Avenue
Charleston, SC 29425
The site is located in the parking lot adjacent to current INR drive-up services.


About the Author

Leslie Cantu

Keywords: COVID-19