Column: A letter to our community from McLeod Health


We are entering the season of reflection and gratitude, and I am extremely fortunate to have many things to be thankful for this year.

Working in health care is a special calling and requires a servant's heart to answer that call in times of need. Our staff has been steadfast in their commitment to ensuring medical excellence and compassionate service to those who entrust us with their care. We care for patients in the happiest of moments when a new life comes into the world, and we care for patients when they are their most vulnerable. I am thankful for the opportunity to lead an amazing organization that is bound by a mission to serve and filter our efforts through our four core values of "Caring, The Person, Quality and Integrity."

As the area's health care leader, McLeod Health Clarendon continues to fulfill its mission to improve the health and well-being of the residents in Clarendon, Sumter and surrounding communities.

Community hospitals play a vital role in the economic growth and development of that community. This year marked 70 years the hospital has served this community and five years being part of the McLeod Health System. At McLeod Health Clarendon, we strive to create meaningful, positive patient experiences for our patients. Although improvement efforts are continually in motion, the hospital has made significant progress in increasing access to specialty care through the McLeod Health network and making sure every patient receives the quality care he or she deserves faster.

Over the next few months, we will continue projects to renovate and modernize areas within our facilities in Clarendon and Sumter counties. We recently finished an expansion of the Intensive Care Unit, which has been crucial in the care of COVID-19 patients. At the same time, we completed the installation of new state-of-the-art radiology equipment. Patients now have access to more advanced imaging services through a newly installed CT scanner and 3D mammography unit, which includes a breast biopsy attachment. Installation of a new MRI is underway with expected completion in late fall 2021.

In addition to advanced technology and renovation, McLeod Health Clarendon welcomed several new providers, to include general surgeon Dr. Danielle Saldana with McLeod Surgery Clarendon; hospitalist and Board-certified cardiologist Dr. John Rozich; hospitalist Dr. James Johnson; Board-certified orthopedic surgeon Dr. Rodney Alan with McLeod Orthopaedics Clarendon and McLeod Orthopaedics Sumter; Dr. Michael Ouzts with Palmetto Adult Medicine; certified nurse midwife Allison Saran with McLeod Women's Care Clarendon; and Chase Godwin, NP with McLeod Orthopaedics Clarendon, and Chaz McDonald with McLeod Orthopaedics Sumter. Additionally, McLeod Primary Care Turbeville was established in the late summer of 2020 with physician assistants Amanda McConnell and Abbie Kirby providing primary care for adults and children.

To increase access to primary care, the McLeod Family Medicine Rural Residency Program launched its first class of residents in June 2020. Expanding the McLeod Family Medicine training program into the Manning community provides much-needed access to physicians, enhances recruitment efforts and affords physicians the opportunity to practice medicine in small community settings.

Additionally, recruitment is underway for physicians throughout the region, as well as plans for clinical rotations and increased presence of specialists. As COVID-19 has brought many challenges, we are continuing to work on improvements in our emergency department to ensure positive patient experience in flow and time in being seen.

McLeod Health Clarendon also achieved many noteworthy accomplishments for ensuring high quality health care for the patients we serve. These recognitions include consecutive Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade A's, Blue Cross Blue Shield Rewarding Excellence Distinction, Healthgrades 2020 Outstanding Patient Experience Award and Zero Harm Awards. The pursuit of quality improvement at McLeod Health Clarendon is unending. These accomplishments are a positive step in our patient experience and quality journey, yet we recognize that we can never stop improving care for patients. Health care is constantly becoming more complex and challenging, and our team is committed to providing the best care possible to our patients both now and in the future.

With exciting possibilities on the horizon, we envision a continued commitment of investment in the communities we serve from the Midlands to the coast. We are deeply grateful for our patients' continued support and utilization of McLeod Health services in our region. McLeod Health is "Here for Life."

Rachel Gainey is the CEO of McLeod Health Clarendon.