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Palmetto Health-USC Medical Group debuts partnership

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With a bit of pomp and circumstance, the Palmetto Health-USC Medical Group introduced itself on Thursday.

The newly formed non-profit, which will officially launch April 1, brings together the resources of Palmetto Health, South Carolina’s largest health care system, and the clinical research expertise of the University of South Carolina School of Medicine. It consolidates 500 providers, 2,200 team members, and 370,000 patients under one multispecialty umbrella and becomes the Midlands’ 11th-largest employer.

“It’s a thrilling day,” said Charles Beaman, Palmetto Health CEO. “It puts us all working together to benefit the patient. That’s the real value. It’s going to be good for the academic enterprise as future doctors are trained and educated, and it’s going to be great for patients who receive the care, and it’s going to be great for the physicians and clinicians involved.”

Joan Gabel, USC provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, said the partnership will be a valuable recruiting tool for both the university and the larger community.

“It gives us a platform for innovation that will put us right at the front of where health care as an industry is,” Gabel said. “It puts in a different category entirely, for attracting students, for attracting faculty – and not just in the medical school, but in all of our health sciences areas – and for accelerating the quality of care that we’re able to deliver as an economic development tool. People will want to live here if they know that health care is excellent.”

Thursday’s announcement at the Columbia Marriott began with ceremonial music cutting through chatter. A line of doctors and other medical professionals filed down an aisle to take up positions behind a podium from which Beaman, Gabel, and Dr. Les Hall, Palmetto Health-USC Medical Group CEO and executive dean of the USC School of Medicine, addressed those assembled.

“Today is a very important day, but we also realize that our work has just begun,” said Hall, tapped to lead the new group in October 2014. “We have much more to accomplish if we are really going to create the kind of seamless health care delivery system that we believe our patients deserve and want.”

Palmetto Health-USC Medical Group patients, whose records have been transferred and who will continue to see their same doctors, are receiving a letter outlining the change.

“We have been very clear from the first that if this is going to be successful, we cannot lose the elements of our culture that we consider the most dear, which is the focus on patients and their care,” Hall said. “We believe that if we have the most brilliant providers in the country and the best nurses and the best office support staff, but we don’t get the human touch right, then we have failed in our mission.”

Reach staff writer Melinda Waldrop at 803-726-7543.

Contact Melinda Waldrop at 803-726-7542.

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