MUSC board reviews MUSC’s statewide leadership and community impact during COVID-19 pandemic

CHARLESTON, S.C. (Aug. 14, 2020) – Recently, the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) and Medical University Hospital Authority (MUHA) Board of Trustees held their regularly scheduled combined committee sessions and board meeting. With its fiscal year-end closing on June 30, MUSC administrators focused on the multilayered impacts of the novel coronavirus on the operations of all three missions of the institution – education, research and patient care – along with MUSC’s leadership role across the community and state during this pandemic. To support established social distancing guidelines in the COVID-19 era, the MUSC trustees and administrators met via teleconference.

“The ripple effects of the pandemic continue to reach every area of our institution,” said MUSC President David J. Cole, M.D., FACS. “We are committed to battling this virus at every turn and continue to find innovative ways to deliver safe, top-quality education and patient care in the face of this challenge. In addition, we are engaged in ongoing research projects, many which, in collaboration with national networks, are designed to help define how to best treat and mitigate the impact of this virus.”

“Throughout the pandemic, MUSC Health has been recognized and called upon as an essential health care resource, having performed nearly 138,000 diagnostic screening tests, primarily through mobile testing sites in communities across the state,” said Patrick J. Cawley, M.D., CEO of MUSC Health and vice president for Health Affairs, University. “In partnership with the state legislature, MUSC set up mobile screening and collection sites in rural and underserved areas in an intentional bid to reach those who are most vulnerable and too often underserved when it comes to health care. Reliable diagnostic and antibody testing remain key elements of managing this unprecedented statewide health challenge.”

Despite the hurdles posed by COVID-19, Cole chronicled many MUSC achievements during the 2020 fiscal year, including:

  • The MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital and Pearl Tourville Women’s Pavilion opened in February.
  • MUSC became the only institution in the country to house both a Digestive Disease Research Core Center and a Center for Biomedical Research Excellence in Digestive and Liver Disease.
  • MUSC Health West Ashley Medical Pavilion opened as scheduled in December and served 10,418 patients in the first month, with 214 operative procedures.
  • The South Carolina Clinical & Translational Research Institute, one of about 60 Clinical and Translational Science Award hubs nationwide, was awarded a $24M five-year renewal.
  • Safely held a series of virtual graduation celebrations, including a drive-through diploma pick-up event for its 660 graduates.
  • Transitioned more than 3,000 students to online education in response to the novel coronavirus within 24 hours’ notice. 
  • MUSC was first in the nation to combine drive-through testing with a virtual screening platform for potential COVID-19 patients.
  • MUSC and Clemson collaborated to launch the Healthy Me – Healthy SC program to increase health access and fight health disparities statewide. The program began expanding in early 2020 after successful pilots in Anderson, Barnwell and Williamsburg counties.
  • MUSC, Clemson and Siemens Healthineers co-hosted a summit in Columbia about artificial intelligence (AI) to bring together faculty, clinicians and engineers. They shared information about current work, new opportunities and discussed the future of AI in health care. The pilot effort funded three joint AI projects with Clemson.
  • U.S. News & World Report named MUSC the state’s best hospital for the fifth consecutive year.
  • The inaugural 2019 Lowvelo Bike Ride for Cancer Research engaged more than 709 cyclists and 300 volunteers, raising some $650,000 to support MUSC Hollings Cancer Center.
  • The U.S. Patent Office granted the MUSC Foundation for Research Development 18 patents.
  • MUSC received $25 million from the General Assembly to partner with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control and the South Carolina Hospital Association to develop and deploy a statewide testing plan. The focus of the plan is on rural and underserved areas of the state. More than 200 testing events/sites have been implemented.
  • MUSC Health continues to support the reopening plan and testing strategy for the University of SC, College of Charleston, The Citadel and Clemson University.

The 16-member MUSC/MUHA board voted unanimously to elect James Lemon, DMD, as chairman and Charles W. Schulze, CPA, as vice chairman. Each will serve a two-year term. Lemon is an oral and maxillofacial surgeon by training. A native of Barnwell, he has lived in Columbia for more than three decades. Elected to the MUSC board in 2014, he serves as the medical professional representative from the 2nd Congressional District. Schulze, a Greenwood native, began his first term as an MUSC trustee in 2002 as the lay representative from the 3rd Congressional District. A retired shareholder of a regional accounting and consulting firm, Schulze currently practices and is an expert in financial forensics.

In other business, the board voted to approve:

  • The fiscal year 2021 budgets for MUSC (University), the MUSC Health system and MUSC Physicians. 
  • Moving the spring commencement and graduation date from its originally scheduled date of May 22 to May 15, 2021.
  • A seven-year lease to provide new clinical care space for the MUSC Neuro Rehabilitation Institute in Charleston.
  • A supplemental HVAC system for the MUSC Hollings Cancer Center Compounding Pharmacy.
  • A lease renewal to provide 140 parking spaces at the intersection of Line Street and Hagood Avenue.  

 

The MUSC/MUHA Board of Trustees serves as separate bodies to govern the university and hospital, normally holding two days of committee and board meetings six times a year. For more information about the MUSC Board of Trustees, visit http://academicdepartments.musc.edu/leadership/board/index.html.

 

About The Medical University of South Carolina

Founded in 1824 in Charleston, MUSC is the oldest medical school in the South as well as the state’s only integrated academic health sciences center with a unique charge to serve the state through education, research and patient care. Each year, MUSC educates and trains more than 3,000 students and nearly 800 residents in six colleges: Dental Medicine, Graduate Studies, Health Professions, Medicine, Nursing and Pharmacy. The state’s leader in obtaining biomedical research funds, in fiscal year 2019, MUSC set a new high, bringing in more than $284 million. For information on academic programs, visit musc.edu.

As the clinical health system of the Medical University of South Carolina, MUSC Health is dedicated to delivering the highest quality patient care available, while training generations of competent, compassionate health care providers to serve the people of South Carolina and beyond. Comprising some 1,600 beds, more than 100 outreach sites, the MUSC College of Medicine, the physicians’ practice plan, and nearly 275 telehealth locations, MUSC Health owns and operates eight hospitals situated in Charleston, Chester, Florence, Lancaster and Marion counties. In 2020, for the sixth consecutive year, U.S. News & World Report named MUSC Health the No. 1 hospital in South Carolina. To learn more about clinical patient services, visit muschealth.org.

MUSC and its affiliates have collective annual budgets of $3.2 billion. The more than 17,000 MUSC team members include world-class faculty, physicians, specialty providers and scientists who deliver groundbreaking education, research, technology and patient care.