MUSC Health signs agreement with Hampton Regional Medical
Center to transform rural health care delivery, expand access
Plan to leverage advanced practitioners, telehealth and MUSC specialty oversight
VARNVILLE, S.C. (May 22, 2019) -MUSC Health, the clinical enterprise of the Medical University of South Carolina
(MUSC), has signed a strategic alliance with Hampton Regional Medical Center (HRMC) that will transform how rural
health care is delivered in South Carolina. Together, MUSC and HRMC plan to extend primary and specialty care to serve
Hampton County and surrounding areas by leveraging the combination of advanced practitioners, the latest telehealth
services, and supportive oversight by MUSC specialists.
"South Carolina continues to be one of the nation's leaders in telemedicine, due in no small part to the fantastic work in
the field being done by MUSC," said Gov. Henry McMaster. "Telemedicine is a vital component of rural healthcare, and
we couldn't be happier with this new partnership between MUSC and Hampton Regional Medical Center."
Established in 1950, HRMC has overcome many obstacles to build and sustain a facility that provides excellent health
care services. Through the years, the hospital has earned numerous awards and positive Press Ganey patient satisfaction
scores. HRMC has also been a constant advocate for technological advancement and expansion of medical services
throughout the Lowcountry. Working in tandem with HRMC, MUSC will deliver its brand, quality and physician expertise
to all area residents. The specific intent is to keep care within the local community and within the existing HRMC health
care system, as medically appropriate.
"Oftentimes, people living in the service areas of rural hospitals travel to larger facilities in urban areas to receive care
that, with today's telehealth technology, can be provided closer to home," said Patrick J. Cawley, MUSC Health CEO and
vice president for Health Affairs, University.
Outmigration, which describes rural residents who leave their communities for health care needs, may be necessary
when an advanced level of care is required; however, in many instances, rural residents can receive the quality care they
need in their home communities, which benefits both patients and their loved ones. The shift of community residents
away from their hometown hospitals takes a heavy toll on the financial stability and viability of rural health facilities.
MUSC hopes to remedy outmigration and retain significantly more care locally by fully leveraging telehealth
"HRMC is a pillar in the community and it is our shared commitment to use technology and our deep bench of health
care specialists to increase access to the variety of health care services available in this market," Cawley noted. "In
collaboration with HRMC, we have developed a working model that will enhance the level of care offered in rural
communities and, simultaneously, lend critical support to rural hospitals," he said. "Moving forward, we can replicate
this distinct model of rural health care delivery in rural communities across South Carolina and, potentially, at a national
In recent years, four rural, South Carolina hospitals have closed due to financial forces that made their operations
unsustainable, including an insufficient volume of patients, escalating costs, and decreasing reimbursements for services
delivered. The market challenges that precipitated these closures continue to mount, making immediate access to
quality care difficult at best in many rural areas.