-Palmetto Care Connections
Telehealth Awareness Week is an initiative led by the South Carolina Telehealth Alliance (SCTA). Throughout the week of October 15-19, 2018, several events were held by partners of SCTA including Palmetto Care Connections (PCC). PCC partnered with Bamberg School District One to host an event on Thursday, October 18, at Bamberg- Ehrhardt High School in observance of Telehealth Awareness Week. This event highlighted Bamberg School District One’s School-Based Telehealth Program and included a live telehealth demonstration conducted by Danette McAlhaney, MD, Bamberg Family Practice and Blake Williams, RN, Bamberg-Ehrhardt High School Nurse. Speakers of this event included Kathy Schwarting, Palmetto Care Connections Chief Executive Officer, Phyllis Schwarting, Bamberg School District One Superintendent, Trent Kinard, Bamberg County Councilman, and Rick Foster, MD, Alliance for a Healthier SC Executive Director.
School-Based Telehealth allows students to see a healthcare provider in a school setting reducing the number of school absenteeism for students and missed work days for parents. The healthcare provider is able to examine the patient (student) through the telehealth equipment operated by the telepresenter or school nurse.
Pictured at the front of the room: Kathy Schwarting, Palmetto Care Connections Chief Executive Officer, Danette McAlhaney, MD (on the cart screen) Bamberg Family Practice, Blake Williams, RN, BEHS School Nurse, and AJ McAlhaney (live demonstration patient)
Telehealth equipment is located at all three schools in Bamberg School District One and operated by the school nurses trained by Palmetto Care Connections. When a student needs to be seen for acute care or chronic care conditions, the school nurse can use the telehealth equipment at the school to connect with a local family practitioner at Bamberg Family Practice to complete the examination. The Medical University of South Carolina Center for Telehealth is used as an alternative provider if the local family practitioner is not available.
Pictured from left to right: Trent Kinard, Bamberg County Councilman, Kathy Schwarting, Palmetto Care Connections Chief Executive Officer, Phyllis Schwarting, Bamberg School District One Superintendent, and Nancy Foster, Mayor, City of Bamberg
At this event, Palmetto Care Connections also received a proclamation from Bamberg County Council proclaiming the third week of October as Telehealth Awareness Week in Bamberg County.
“We are very excited to work with the Bamberg County Council to promote the use of telehealth in the schools as well as in local provider clinics. We want to make sure that our children are healthy and read to learn in the school environment. Telehealth technology in the schools can reduce absenteeism and reduce unnecessary emergency department usage,” said Kathy Schwarting, CEO of Palmetto Care Connections and Co-Chair of the SCTA.”
“We want every citizen in South Carolina to at least know what telehealth services are available to them, and their loved ones. Our legislators are supporting this so everyone has access to high quality care, urban, suburban and rural citizens,” said Dr. McElligott, Co-Chair of the SCTA.
Palmetto Care Connections is a nonprofit organization, based in Bamberg, SC, that promotes the use of telehealth to improve access to care in rural and underserved communities. PCC also works with healthcare providers across South Carolina to ensure they have affordable and reliable broadband connectivity that is needed to implement telehealth services.
Learn more about Telehealth Awareness Week at www.sctelehealth.org .
Learn more about Palmetto Care Connections at www.palmettocareconnections.org.