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BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina

  • sam patrick posted an article
    Premier Medical, Clemson detect latest variant in Upstate region see more

    December 20, 2021 – Today, Premier Medical Laboratory Services (PMLS), headquartered in Greenville, SC, reports their findings that the Omicron variant is now confirmed to be present in the Upstate. The laboratory has been surveilling for Omicron and other novel variants through Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) in partnership with the Clemson University Bioengineering Department. Clemson University REDDI Lab has collected samples for COVID-19 testing from throughout the upstate community and was funded through the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to then have the COVID-19 positive specimens undergo NGS at PMLS. NGS is the process of decoding the genetic make-up of the virus to track how it is mutating and spreading throughout the population.

    “As a proactive and solutions-driven company, we implemented Next Generation Sequencing to meet the needs of our population with preparedness for novel variants like Omicron,” said Kevin Murdock, CEO and Founder of Premier Medical Laboratory Services. “Through partnerships like ours with Clemson University, we are happy to increase the amount of data for South Carolina and the entire nation which is vital for vaccine efficacy and our understanding of the virus.”

    Knowing the importance of accumulating data in the continued fight against the pandemic, PMLS implemented one of the largest sequencing initiatives among any lab in the nation – with the capability to sequence up to 42,000 samples per week. Many labs that are conducting COVID-19 testing have not developed the capabilities to conduct sequencing, and new variants cannot be fully identified via COVID-19 diagnostic testing methods alone. PMLS will continue working to uncover any further novel variants and mutations that COVID-19 presents and notify health officials.

    Other ways PMLS has helped to meet demands during the pandemic:

    • Processing lab for Human Health Services surge sites and several state health departments 
    • Blue Cross Blue Shield preferred COVID-19 testing lab in several states
    • Reached one of the highest testing capacities in the nation with the capability to process over 300,000 tests per day
    • Developed medical data management software that communicates directly from laboratory equipment for faster HIPAA compliant delivery of data to healthcare providers and patients
    • Shifted production to add in-house manufacturing of COVID-19 testing kits
    • Donated thousands of COVID-19 tests to children's diabetes summer camps throughout the nation
    • Donated hundreds of thousands of masks to local law enforcement, paramedics, fire departments, hospitals, and the Shriners organization and has provided free testing to first responders during the pandemic

    For more information, please visit www.premedinc.com or call 1.866.800.5470. 

    ABOUT PREMIER MEDICAL LABORATORY SERVICES
    Premier Medical Laboratory Services (PMLS), based in Greenville, South Carolina, is an advanced molecular diagnostics lab fully certified by top laboratory accrediting organizations, including CLIA and COLA. With the most advanced laboratory information systems (LIS) easy to read one-page test result reports are generated with higher accuracy and a customizable report for each client. PMLS prides itself on having some of the most rapid turnaround times for testing results in the industry. Their expansive testing menu includes Pharmacogenomics, COVID-19 testing, Advanced Cardiovascular Testing, Diabetes, Women's Wellness panels, Allergen Specific Ige Blood Testing, Toxicology, and highly advanced diabetes test, MDDiabeticPro. For more information, please visit www.PreMedInc.com

  • sam patrick posted an article
    Start Central is the Central SC Region’s go-to resource for connecting workers with opportunities see more

    Compliments of Midlands Biz

    The Central SC Alliance (CSCA) unveiled a new tool to connect skilled workers and local employers. Start Central is a comprehensive website where individuals from inside and outside the Central SC Region can search for job opportunities, access resources on training programs to boost their skills, and learn about the benefits of living in the Region.

    “It’s been a project of passion over the past year for our team to bring this website to life. We saw a gap in how the Central SC Region was fairing in the highly competitive market of skilled talent attraction and retention. This new site provides job seekers an opportunity to bridge that gap by obtaining the careers in our Region that they’ve been dreaming of and enhancing their appeal to employers by upgrading their skill sets. It’s also another way we can support our local existing industries in drawing in skilled talent,” says Tracy McMillin, Central SC Alliance Interim President and CEO.

    The website spans a range of topics aimed at helping both locals and non-natives explore the potential available to them in the heart of South Carolina. Major features include:

    • Regional-focused jobs and internships searches
    • Upskilling resources for students and existing workers of targeted industries
    • Startup aid for tech companies and entrepreneurs
    • Resources for Military members and Veterans
    • Ambassador testimonials
    • News about regional jobs and training

    The site also highlights the livability of the Region with profiles on the Region’s nine communities, details on local entertainment and attractions, links to charitable and volunteering opportunities, and an interactive cost of living calculator.

    “We want visitors to take away a little piece of what we love about the Central SC Region and use that information to decide that this is the destination for them. Some people may think of the coast or mountains when you first ask them about South Carolina – but this area has an underrated allure,” McMillin explains. “We are surrounded by natural beauty with many of our communities interwoven with watery and wooded retreats right outside their doors. The cost of living makes it possible to not just work for a living but to enjoy the money you earn. And we have some of the world’s best-known brand names creating career opportunities in nearly every field.”

    Access to an available and skilled workforce is a constant need of companies. Spanning eight counties – Calhoun, Clarendon, Fairfield, Kershaw, Lexington, Newberry, Orangeburg and Richland – and the state’s capital city of Columbia, the Central SC Region is home to popular brands like Amazon, Samsung, Nephron Pharmaceuticals, Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC), Capgemini, BlueCross BlueShield of SC, and Target. Over recent years, the Region has become a hub for startups and entrepreneurs such as Zverse, Vän Robotics, Cognito Forms, Proof Alcohol Ice Cream, guHRoo, and more. These operations along with more than 1,000 other facilities employ more than a quarter million workers; and as their facilities grow, so does the importance of access to workers with supporting talents and skills.

    Matt Vaadi, CEO of the Columbia-area HR software and solutions company guHRoo (formerly ERG Payroll), has found success in accessing talent for his company through diligence and dedication to the extensive network of local resources.

    “The talent pool in Central SC and the surrounding area is deeper than people realize,” he explains. “Between the universities, the large technology companies, and the people relocating to the area, you can find exactly what you are looking for if you put in the work. We focus most of our recruiting efforts on hiring local talent and upskilling where necessary because we believe in the local talent density.”

    Collaborative partnerships with businesses in the Region, and those with technical training facilities, colleges and universities, governing bodies, and more, have become an indispensable action-driven network in economic development growth opportunities. These connections played an important role throughout the creation of Start Central.

    “This site has kicked off so many new connections and collaborative opportunities, and we are excited to see what else lies ahead and how we can grow and change together to amplify the mission of this Region,” says McMillin.

    To see what Start Central has to offer and to start exploring the benefits of the Central SC Region, visit startcentralsc.org.

     

    About Start Central & the Central South Carolina Alliance

    Start Central is an initiative of the Central SC Alliance (CSCA) to support existing industries of the Central SC Region in their need to recruit and retain skilled talent. Connect with Start Central on LinkedInTwitterFacebook and Instagram.

    Located in the heart of South Carolina, the Central SC Alliance (CSCA) is a full-service professional economic development alliance focused on cultivating economic advancement and enrichment in the communities of the Central SC Region. Founded in 1994 as a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit partnership, the CSCA is the Region’s lead economic development alliance representing eight member counties and the state’s capital city – Calhoun, Clarendon, Fairfield, Kershaw, Lexington, Newberry, Orangeburg, Richland counties and the City of Columbia.

    To learn more, visit our website at centralsc.org and connect with us on LinkedInFacebook, and Twitter.

     September 29, 2021
  • sam patrick posted an article
    USC Interim President Dr. Harris Pastides, Sec. of Commerce Machelle Baker Sanders to Co-Chair see more

    The South Carolina Institute of Medicine and Public Health (IMPH) and the North Carolina Institute of Medicine (NCIOM) announced today the creation of the Carolinas Pandemic Preparedness Task Force. The task force will be chaired by University of South Carolina Interim President Dr. Harris Pastides and North Carolina Secretary of Commerce Machelle Baker Sanders.  

    Over the past year, IMPH and NCIOM have worked jointly to develop this initiative, which will provide North and South Carolina with recommendations for a resilient response to future disease outbreaks. Task force members, led by steering committee representatives from both states, will work and learn collaboratively to develop evidence-based recommendations to support future state and local planning efforts.

    The task force will examine lessons learned during the current pandemic in areas related to health, education and economic and social stability with a guiding focus on equity and responding to the needs of historically marginalized and vulnerable populations.

    With funding and support from The Duke Endowment, the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust, the BlueCross® BlueShield® of South Carolina Foundation (an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association), and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, steering committee meetings are underway. Full task force meetings will take place from July 2021 to April 2022, followed by the publication of a final report from each state in June 2022.

    About IMPH

    The South Carolina Institute of Medicine & Public Health (IMPH) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization working to collectively inform policy to improve health and health care in South Carolina. In conducting its work, IMPH takes a comprehensive approach to advancing health issues through data analysis and translation and collaborative engagement. IMPH seeks to achieve its mission by convening a diverse group of stakeholders around health issues important to South Carolina. Learn more at imph.org

  • sam patrick posted an article
    Minority med students get a boost see more

    Courtesy of GSA Business Report

    Minority medical students will have a chance to take advantage of a $45,000 annual scholarship at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville for the next 10 years thanks to a recent grant from The BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina Foundation and the Levi S. Kirkland Sr., M.D. Society.

    The total $3.7 million Levi S. Kirkland Sr., M.D. grant will ultimately support 21 students during four years of study at the school with the intention of boosting numbers of underrepresented populations in the field. Patients are 19 to 26 times more likely to seek care from a physician who looks like them and has similar life experiences, according to the news release.

    “The Levi S. Kirkland Sr., M.D. Society is a business resource that focuses on mentorship, sponsorship and engaging the community,” Dr. Frank Clark, president of the Levi S. Kirkland Sr., M.D. Society, said in the news release. Clark is clinical assistant professor at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville and medical director and division chief for adult inpatient and consultation-liaison services at Prisma Health−Upstate. “It’s vitally important, as we serve our communities, that we have a diverse physician workforce.”

    The 10-year grant, named after the first Black physician to work in the Greenville Health System, now known as Prisma Health, is the longest-running grant in the foundation’s history and was gifted after the University of South Carolina School of Medicine accepted its most diverse student population yet with a 24% minority cohort, the release said.

    The school projects that number to rise to 26% for the 2021 class, according to the release.

    “We are thrilled at the opportunities that this grant will provide for our students,” Dr. Marjorie Jenkins, school dean and chief academic officer at Prisma Health−Upstate, said in the release. “This generous grant from the foundation is an important investment in our students and a testament to the excellent medical education we provide to future physicians for the Upstate and across South Carolina.”

    Students who receive the scholarship must agree to practice medicine in the Palmetto State for four years.

    “One of the biggest worries of medical school is finances, tuition and living expenses,” Dillon Isaac, a medical student at the school and past scholarship recipient, said in the release. “Because of this scholarship, all of my efforts can go into studying medicine, addressing health care disparities, and looking into social determinants of health. Altogether, this will help me give my overall best toward patient care and give back to the community that raised me. With that, I’m extremely excited to share I’ll be continuing my medical training as an internal medicine-pediatrics resident in the Upstate. I’m so excited to follow in the footsteps of the physicians that continuously support and inspire me.”

  • sam patrick posted an article
    SC life sciences news of note fro your reading pleasure is now live! see more

    This edition of SCBIO's semi-monthly newsletter is chock full of great information, including next week's eagerly anticipated webinar featuring top elected officials on SC's path forward from COVID, the "Slow the Spread" PSA campaign from BCBSSC and SCHA, highlights on companies stepping up in tough times, late-breaking news and more.  Read the entire thing by clicking here!

  • sam patrick posted an article
    KIYATEC adds to its Board of Directors see more

    KIYATEC, Inc. today announced the appointment of Bruce Nash, MD, MBA, to its Board of Directors. Dr. Nash brings over 30 years of executive-level healthcare experience in the managed care, hospital and medical group practice settings. Currently, he serves as Chief Physician Executive and Senior Vice President at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, one of the nation’s leading health insurance plans. During his career, Dr. Nash has held executive leadership positions in both managed care (Kaiser Permanente, Capital District Physicians’ Health Plan) and healthcare (Northern Berkshire Health System, North Adams Regional Hospital) organizations. 

    Dr. Nash serves on the boards of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation and the Network for Excellence in Health Innovation (NEHI), while also serving on the Board of Strategic Advisors at the Excel Venture Management Fund and the Clinical Advisory Group at the Blue Venture Fund.  He is a board-certified physician who completed his residency training at Duke University. Bruce earned his MBA in Health Sector Management from Duke University's Fuqua School of Business.

    “We are delighted to welcome Dr. Nash to KIYATEC’s Board of Directors,” said Robert Silverman, Chairman of the Board of Directors of KIYATEC. “Bruce’s relevant experience and vision as both a clinician and an expert in managed care will provide tremendous value as KIYATEC moves forward in the development of our predictive clinical tests to improve cancer patient care and outcomes.”

    The addition of Dr. Nash to the KIYATEC Board of Directors comes as the company’s evidence development efforts continue to gain momentum:

     

    About KIYATEC, Inc.

    KIYATEC leverages its proprietary ex vivo 3D cell culture platforms to accurately model and predict response to approved and investigational cancer drugs targeting a spectrum of solid tumors. The company’s Clinical Services business is currently engaged in the validation of clinical assays as well as investigator-initiated studies in ovarian cancer, breast cancer, glioblastoma and rare tumors, in its CLIA-certified laboratory.  The company’s Drug Development Services business works in partnership with leading biopharmaceutical companies to unlock response dynamics for their investigational drug candidates across the majority of solid tumor types

  • sam patrick posted an article
    BlueCross BlueShield, BlueChoice HealthPlan of SC are urging patients to use telehealth see more

    BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina and BlueChoice HealthPlan of South Carolina are urging people to consider telehealth for their next non-emergency room doctor visit. Members can use the service for behavioral health, urgent care and lactation consultation.
     
    Both companies are advocating the option during Telehealth Awareness Week Oct. 15 – 19, 2018, the annual observance of telehealth programs and services available in communities around the state.
     
    “Many health care visits can be conducted without being in person, such as by video,” said BlueCross Chief Medical Officer Matt Bartels, M.D. “While telehealth does not replace your relationship with your primary care physician it is a useful avenue for increasing access and convenience, which our members have told us is very important to them. Telehealth is especially useful in reducing unnecessary emergency room visits.”
     
    Available anytime on a computer, tablet or mobile phone, Blue CareOnDemand— the BlueCross and BlueChoice telehealth platform — uses video to securely connect members with a physician who will review their symptoms, ask and answer questions, make diagnoses and prescribe medications, if appropriate. All the providers are U.S. board-certified physicians and licensed health care professionals.
     
    During Telehealth Awareness Week, BlueCross will post telehealth information across its social media channels. Followers can expect topics such as explaining how a telehealth visit works, member testimonials and simplifying use of telehealth.
     
    BlueCross and BlueChoice members can register for the service, which was launched in January 2016, at www.BlueCareOnDemandSC.com, or they can search for Blue CareOnDemand in the App Store or Google Play.
     
    Many members have downloaded the app and those who have not are urged to do so now because of emergency uncertainties, including the upcoming flu season.