MUSC's Midlands expansion links more sites to No. 1 hospital in state

August 03, 2021
Employees at Columbia Northeast in blue MUSC t shirts
Employees sport new T-shirts at MUSC Health Columbia Medical Center Northeast. Photos by Kathryn Van Aernum

Joanne Carelli is thrilled that the downtown Columbia hospital where she’s worked for 43 years is now part of MUSC Health’s new Midlands Division. She’s pleased not only as a veteran nurse manager but also as woman battling cancer.

Joanne Carelli 
Joanne Carelli

“I just feel like research and new data that comes out, the new medications that come out, we’re going to know about it. We’re going to be part of it because MUSC is so much into research and teaching and education and moving forward,” Carelli said.

The leaders of Medical University of South Carolina and MUSC Health, the clinical side of the academic medical center based in Charleston, visited Carelli’s hospital and three other Midlands sites on Aug. 2 to welcome employees and share their vision for the future.

“MUSC must find ways to have partnership and presence throughout the state to help facilitate the best local care possible and provide better connectivity to the high-quality, highly specialized care we are known for,” said David Cole, M.D., president of MUSC. “Statewide presence is the linchpin to delivering on our mission.”

Dr. David Cole speaks at Fairfield dedication. 
Dr. David Cole speaks at the dedication ceremony at MUSC Health Fairfield Emergency and Imaging.

That statewide presence has been steadily growing. In 2019, hospitals in the Chester, Florence Lancaster and Marion areas joined MUSC Health. The latest additions involve the purchases of Providence Health and KershawHealth from Tennessee-based LifePoint Health.

Carelli is glad to become part of a South Carolina-based health care group again. “It’s been such a long time that we were part of something that’s local and so well respected.”

MUSC Health’s new Midlands Division includes:

MUSC Health Columbia Medical Center Downtown.

MUSC Health Columbia Medical Center Northeast.

MUSC Health Fairfield Emergency and Imaging.

MUSC Health Kershaw Medical Center.

Audience in Kershaw at dedication. 
Employees at MUSC Health Kershaw Medical Center gather to listen to MUSC leaders talk about their vision for the hospital.

David Stratford works at the hospital in Camden in Kershaw County, leading the team that keeps instruments sterile for surgeons. “When I first came here in 1975, it was Kershaw County Memorial Hospital. I’ve been through four or five changes. I think MUSC has the resources to take us to where we need to be,” he said. “I think it’s going to work out well.”

David Stratford. 
David Stratford

Cole emphasized the value of those resources as he spoke to new employees. “You’re now part of the state’s only comprehensive academic health system, during one of the most transformative moments in modern health care.”

Patrick Cawley, M.D., CEO of MUSC Health and vice president for Health Affairs, University, said that transformation is happening both deliberately and swiftly. “It was just a month ago that we had a definite agreement worked out, and it was because we felt so strongly about bringing you all on board and doing it as quickly as we could because South Carolina can’t wait. We need high-quality care and better access to care,” he said.

“While we’ve been doing outreach in the Midlands for years, having this presence in the community takes it to a whole new level. Each one of these facilities already had a great culture. We’re going to take their great culture and our great culture and combine them to bring the best care possible to this area.”

Dr. Patrick Cawley speaks to employees at MUSC Health Columbia Downtown. 
MUSC Health CEO Patrick Cawley speaks at MUSC Health Columbia Medical Center Downtown.

With the new additions, MUSC now has about 19,000 employees statewide. Carelli is happy to become one of them. “You can just feel the excitement, and you have felt that excitement over the past month. We’re going to MUSC. Everybody is just looking forward to it.”