News Releases

News Releases

DHEC and SCHA Thank South Carolina Healthcare Heroes during National Hospital Week

May 15, 2020

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) and South Carolina Hospital Association (SCHA) encourage all South Carolinians to recognize our state’s healthcare heroes during National Hospital Week.

As hospitals continue to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, their skilled staff and healthcare professionals are working tirelessly to prevent the spread of the virus while providing critical care to our state’s COVID-19 patients.  

“DHEC thanks all of our state’s hospitals and the hundreds of staff at each facility for their sacrifices and life-saving work,” said DHEC Director Rick Toomey. “COVID-19 has affected every hospital and healthcare system in the state, and our hospitals and healthcare professionals continue to prove how incredibly skilled, efficient and compassionate they are in the face of this public health crisis.”

The SCHA is thanking healthcare workers throughout the state by deploying a “Healthcare Heroes Truck” to visit hospitals and share messages of appreciation.  

“Frontline healthcare workers in South Carolina’s hospitals are the true heroes of COVID-19,” said Thornton Kirby, SCHA President and CEO.  

National Hospital Week, which is observed from May 10-16, celebrates our hospitals and the professionals who work in them. South Carolina currently has 94 licensed hospitals staffed with nurses, doctors, practitioners, and a variety of staff members who provide essential medical care and services to patients.   

“These are, without a doubt, challenging times for Prisma Health and the healthcare industry as a whole. During National Hospital Week, we are extremely proud of our team members and how they have come together to support, care for and serve each other and our community like never before,” said Mark O’Halla, president and Chief Executive Officer of Prisma Health. “From those on the front lines to others playing a vital role behind the scenes, witnessing firsthand how each and every one of our team members bring it day-in and day-out is both humbling and inspiring. We are proud of their work and sacrifice as we continue to live our purpose: Inspire health. Serve with compassion. Be the difference.”

“I couldn’t be prouder of how we’ve handled our response to the COVID-19 pandemic, collaborating with the Department of Health and Environmental Control and supporting each other and our community during this unprecedented time,” said Tod Augsburger, President and CEO of the Lexington Medical Center. “Hospital Week gives us an opportunity to recognize the tireless efforts of these physicians, clinicians and staff and show our appreciation for all they do every day to keep us safe and healthy.”

“As we have faced the tremendous challenge of confronting COVID-19 both professionally and personally, we have been inspired by the extraordinary service of all our people. At McLeod Health, we are grateful to each and every one who has risen to the enormous challenge of their calling in caring for patients, families and supporting each other as colleagues,” stated Rob Colones, President and CEO of McLeod Health. “We watch daily the amazing acts of kindness and compassion being delivered during this unprecedented national pandemic and as part of the continuing mission and dedication of McLeod Health teams. We are thankful for all of these ambassadors at McLeod and their leadership in achieving the best outcomes for a community who entrusts us with their care. Healthcare is not for the faint of heart and we are so very thankful for those who honor this vocation with courage, faithfulness and commitment.”

"The celebration of our MUSC Health care team members this year comes at one of our most challenging times as a team to date. l could not be more impressed or inspired by what they have accomplished in the last few months," said Patrick J. Cawley, MD, MUSC Health CEO and Vice President of Health Affairs, University. "At all levels our team has pursued innovative care delivery and out of the box thinking to meet the pandemic head on so that we could go above and beyond to serve our patients, their families and the statewide community. From the nation's first combination telehealth screening and drive through specimen collection platform for COVID-19 to an unprecedented recovery effort to restore full operational capacity, these care team members are moving forward with the understanding that as always, safety, quality and the needs of patients and their families must come first. South Carolina can continue to count on MUSC Health to work collaboratively with other hospitals, universities and more to address COVID19, and remain confident that the best and brightest minds will do all we can to ensure the health of the citizens of our state."

DHEC continues to work closely with hospitals setting up screening and testing sites for COVID-19 and during the preparedness and response efforts has included the creation of the following: 

•    COVID-19 specimen collection and testing sites
•    Onsite screening tents
•    Onsite triage tents 
•    COVID-19 isolation sites 
•    Alternate care sites that provide additional space for treating patients 
“DHEC is working with hospitals in inspecting and opening construction spaces so select alternate care sites can be approved,” said Gwen Thompson, DHEC Director of Healthcare Quality. “These sites are an important part of our state’s efforts to expand testing, and they help us support our hospitals as they work to safely test, screen, and care for patients.” 

As providers across the state continue to increase testing, DHEC wants to make sure South Carolinians know where they can go to get tested. Visit to locate COVID-19 test sampling sites and to find a mobile testing clinic near you. DHEC screening and specimen collections are free for anyone and are part of our ongoing efforts to increase testing in underserved and rural communities across the state. 



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