Tandem Health partners with contraceptive access program


A health care provider in Sumter has partnered with the state's largest coordinated contraceptive access program that is attempting to reduce unintended pregnancies 25% by 2021 in South Carolina.

Tandem Health is working with Choose Well, a program that is the first of its kind in the Southeast and has more than 55 organizations and 170 clinical sites throughout all 46 counties, according to a news release. The program is privately funded by New Morning Foundation and works to improve consumer knowledge and access to contraceptive care services, increase provider knowledge and training and remove cost barriers to contraceptive care and birth control for women.

"It has long been recognized that preventing unintended pregnancy has far-reaching impacts on almost every societal problem we face," said Robert Key, CFA, president at CCM Investment Advisors and New Morning Foundation board chairman. "Choose Well's approach of uniting medical and nursing schools, hospital systems, governments, clinicians and consumers across South Carolina is truly unprecedented."

Key said the program, a bi-partisan effort, both strengthens families and curbs government spending.

More than half of the state's pregnancies are unintended, according to Choose Well, costing taxpayers more than $79 million each year with an additional $195 million to the federal government a year.

Other partners include the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, federally qualified health centers, hospitals, rural health centers, community-reaching organizations, college and university health services, nursing colleges and other community and capacity-building organizations. The goal, according to Choose Well, is to improve the health, development and economic stability of South Carolina's women, children and families.

Tandem Health CEO Annie Brown said being a partner means a greater ability to care for the overall, long-term health of the Sumter community.

"We are dedicated to building a healthier community and improving the quality of life for all our residents," she said. "Inherent in that is offering comprehensive, affordable health care services accessible to everyone. Choose Well provides us with the resources to expand our women's and family planning services and simultaneously address a societal issue like unintended pregnancy. The positive impacts will be felt far into the future."