A Clemson University and Medical University of South Carolina partnership called Healthy Me – Healthy SC (HMHSC) will provide COVID-19 testing assistance for rural and underserved areas in the Upstate and Midlands of South Carolina.
These areas experience disparities in access to COVID-19 screening, testing, prevention and treatment, according to a joint statement by the universities. The program will launch a mobile testing team to screen and collect samples. The testing kicked off in Walhalla on July 30. Weekly screening sessions over the next six months are planned.
Testing sites will be available in these locations for both walk-up and drive-thru patients. Community members are required to bring a photo ID and insurance card if they have one. While insurance isn’t necessary, MUSC is required to bill insurance providers if its patient does have insurance.
“Clemson Cooperative Extension is happy to be a part of the HMHSC holistic approach to health and well-being for South Carolina citizens,” said Michelle Parisi, director of Nutrition and Health Extension Programs and assistant professor at Clemson. “With educational programs established in every county of the state, the Health Extension has been a trusted source of scientific information for rural and underserved communities for over 100 years. These longstanding relationships assist HMHSC in bridging the gap between health resources and underserved communities in our state.”
HMHSC began in 2019 and has focused on issues like infant mortality, childhood obesity, cancer prevention and pain management. Under its new executive director, David Sudduth, the program will expand into the COVID-19 testing.
“Our mission is to build healthier communities by offering innovative solutions that establish partnerships and leverage resources throughout South Carolina. And our response to COVID-19 allows us to make both an immediate and lasting impact on the health of South Carolina citizens,” Sudduth said.
Funding for the testing comes from a subgrant from the South Carolina General Assembly that expanded COVID-19 testing throughout the state.