News Releases

News Releases

DHEC Investigates Facilities in Orangeburg, Cites One Unlicensed Facility

Feb. 22, 2024

COLUMBIA, S.C. ― On Thursday, Feb. 15, 2024, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), in coordination with other state and local agencies, investigated three alleged unlicensed community residential care facilities (CRCFs) in Orangeburg. DHEC staff cited one facility for operating an unlicensed CRCF, which is a violation of state statute and regulation. 

During the investigation, DHEC found staff at the unlicensed CRCF were offering room and board and providing and coordinating personal care for residents. Investigators also found that residents were locked in rooms with no ability to exit without assistance, posing an imminent risk in the event of a fire or medical emergency. A copy of the report of visit is available online.  

Law enforcement officials placed the residents of the unlicensed facility into emergency protective custody, and they have since been relocated to appropriate facilities to ensure their safety. The unlicensed CRCF submitted a plan of correction, which was accepted by DHEC’s Bureau of Health Facilities Licensing. 

Based on the investigations of the other two facilities, DHEC staff did not find that they were being operated as CRCFs. The individuals residing at those locations were not receiving assistance with the activities of daily living, and therefore these facilities are essentially apartments. 

DHEC regulates South Carolina’s long-term care facilities to ensure they provide quality, safe care to their residents as required by state laws and regulations. This includes investigating unlicensed facilities to determine if they are required by state law to be licensed and regulated by DHEC.   

“It is the responsibility of long-term care facilities to operate in compliance with all applicable state and federal laws, regulations and permits,” said Gwen Thompson, DHEC’s Director of Healthcare Quality. “Our ultimate goal is for all of our state’s long-term care facilities to operate in accordance with these laws and regulations, which exist to establish safe standards for protecting the health of the residents they care for, as well as their staff. If a facility creates a dangerous living condition, we will take immediate and decisive action to protect residents, who are always our top priority.”  

Through permit reviews, routine and unannounced inspections and regular communications with facilities and industry stakeholders, DHEC works to ensure long-term care facilities have the resources and information they need to operate in compliance with state and federal laws and regulations.  

Learn more about DHEC’s role with permitting long-term care facilities and find applicable state regulations at  

DHEC encourages the public to use an online complaint form if they suspect any type of wrongdoing at a healthcare facility or service regulated by DHEC. Anyone unable to submit a health facility complaint online can call DHEC at 1-800-922-6735 and indicate that they wish to file a complaint against a health facility or service, and DHEC will follow-up as needed. 



Media Relations Orangeburg