CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – MUSC Health and the South Carolina Department of Corrections are partnering to provide health care for incarcerated individuals.
Right now, when the incarcerated need hospitalization, they are taken to a local hospital for treatment – that includes an average of 25 inmates daily.
But the Medical University of South Carolina said the new agreement will establish a dedicated and secure hospital wing with nearly 35 beds for SCDC patients inside the MUSC Health Chester Medical Center, rather than sending them to various facilities across the state.
Treatment often includes acute conditions like appendicitis or pneumonia.
“This will allow inmates to be treated in a consolidated, safe, secure environment and save taxpayer dollars,” said SCDC director, Bryan Stirling. “We are grateful for this important partnership.”
The facility will be renovated beginning this summer to ensure the environment is secure and safe. Leaders say enhancements will include adding multiple levels of security throughout the building like security doors, windows, cameras and fencing.
Working 12-hour shifts, at least two officers must accompany each inmate. It requires 255 employees to staff hospital duty 24 hours a day, year-round. The renovated facility would return about 200 employees to correctional institutions across the state.
Costs related to the project are still being finalized.
Emergency care will still be provided by the hospital closest to the incarcerated person’s correctional institution.
The general timeline for the project includes three to four months for the selection of an architect and design activities and then approximately four months for renovations.
“As the state’s only comprehensive academic health sciences center, our mission is rooted in serving all citizens to the best of our ability and leading with innovative solutions that positively affect our community,” said David J. Cole, M.D., FACS, MUSC president.
The first patients are anticipated in the facility in mid-2022.