Issues over $3 million in funds to colleges, universities see more
SCRA has announced the funding of over $3.3 million to selected colleges and universities for translational research projects to address key challenges facing the state’s industrial base. SCRA’s funding is being matched by the academic institutions and industry partners, bringing the total amount of the projects to over $6.7 million.
The projects are being funded through the SCRA-Academia Collaboration Team (SACT) program. The goal of the SACT is to connect industry with multi-institutional academic teams and build bridges among the institutions to foster engagement and advance technologies, many of which will enter the marketplace and lead to the creation of South Carolina-based jobs.
- $1.8 million was awarded to Clemson University to modernize South Carolina’s manufacturing assets to enable Industry 4.0 (the ongoing automation of traditional manufacturing and industrial practices, using modern smart technology). Clemson is partnering with the University of South Carolina, the Medical University of South Carolina, South Carolina State University, Greenville Technical College, and Trident Technical College.
- $1.2 million was awarded to the University of South Carolina to enable factory-to-factory networking for the future of manufacturing operations. The University is partnering with Clemson University, Greenville Technical College, and Midlands Technical College.
- $305,000 was awarded to Francis Marion University to improve workforce readiness and capabilities in South Carolina. The University is partnering with The Citadel.
“I’m energized by the opportunities and positive outcomes from this intersection of academic research, entrepreneurship, and industry in the state. These collaborations provide the greatest potential for innovation, economic growth, and overall advancement of the region,” said Kella Player, SCRA Program Manager.
SCRA’s program directors and industry advisors will review the progress on these SACT research projects on an ongoing basis. Funds will be provided in stages as milestones are met.
“We are fortunate to have high-quality research and development being conducted at our state’s colleges and universities. Many of the technologies on which they are working today will produce the new companies of tomorrow. It’s a honor for SCRA to support these collaborations,” said Bob Quinn, SCRA Executive Director.
Since 2018, SACT grants have funded 17 collaborations among South Carolina-based academic institutions and 41 industry partners. These projects have produced an 8:1 multiple in additional funding from other sources such as industry and the federal government.
SCRA grants are funded in part by the Industry Partnership Fund (IPF). IPF contributors are South Carolina businesses and individuals who receive a dollar-for-dollar state tax credit for investing in the state’s innovation economy.
Another SC start-up is making good see more
During a procedure with a young patient, Cephus Simmons noticed something wasn’t working as well as it could. Part of the child’s small intestine had slid into the large intestine, causing an obstruction that can be life threatening for small children.
But the catheter used to keep the bladder flowing wasn’t staying firmly in place.
“It became frustrating to me, and it was something that medically I knew wasn’t correct, and something that needed to be fixed,” said Simmons, a Ph.D. and radiology assistant at the Medical University of South Carolina.
The catheter the MUSC team was using, called a Foley catheter, features a balloon to hold it in place internally. After the procedure, Simmons drew up his idea for a different kind of catheter that would have two balloons, one to be placed on the inside and one on the outside of the body. He founded SealCath in 2013.
While Simmons says it solves the problems that were at hand during that procedure, the catheter he developed can be used for colonoscopies and more. It’s also made to work for both pediatric and adult patients.
But it took several years after founding of the company for the catheter to become available on the market. Simmons worked on the effort from his home in Mount Pleasant in between his clinical time at MUSC, getting little sleep.
The company quickly began to take off in 2018. Simmons was awarded a research grant that year from the National Institutes of Health.
The S.C. Research Authority, a tech accelerator program that receives state funding, also enrolled SealCath in its SC Launch program for startups in 2018. The program gives companies mentorship and capital in order to grow.
SealCath went to market in the summer of 2019. Then, Simmons secured a patent in Canada in 2020.
When COVID-19 shut hospitals’ doors to many patients, visitors and vendors, SealCath also had to shut down temporarily. Business picked back up by the end of 2020, and now Simmons plans to bring to market a silicon version of his catheter this fall — it’s available in latex for now, and some buyers are concerned about allergies to the material.
Innovations in the life sciences are some of the most promising in Charleston’s burgeoning technology industry.
Health care technology, along with biotech and pharmaceuticals, make up two of the state’s top three startup industries, according to an annual analysis by BIP Capital. Still, in terms of the amount of outside funding coming in, South Carolina’s startups can’t match the size of Georgia’s, North Carolina’s, Florida’s or Tennessee’s in the Southeast.
SealCath is one of a number of successful spin-offs to come from researchers and clinicians at MUSC.
Simmons didn’t imagine becoming the CEO of a startup company when he decided to go into medicine.
“Innovation does the same thing as what I’ve been doing my whole career, which is helping patients,” he said. “If you find the right product that’s going to improve health care, then innovation is actually just as good or better than what I’ve been doing the whole time as far as taking care of my patients.”
Simmons plans to retire from MUSC, which he now counts among his customers, this year and take his catheter on the road to market it to other hospitals. His long-term goal is to export the device to Canada.
Simmons graduated from Walterboro High School. He is married with four children.
MUSC spinoff helps to manage pharmacy costs for hospitals see more
A Medical University of South Carolina spinoff that built a software platform to help health care systems monitor and manage their pharmaceutical costs has raised more capital.
QuicksortRx Inc. did not disclose the size of the investment round in a written statement issued June 15, saying it was a private transaction.
The company, which has moved its headquarters to the recently completed Charleston Tech Center on Morrison Drive, also has added two local industry veterans to its board.
The new directors at QuicksortRx are Shawn Jenkins and Steve Swanson, who provided the investment capital.
Jenkins is co-founder and the former CEO of Benefitfocus Inc., a Nasdaq-listed traded software firm based on Daniel Island that he helped take public in 2013. He also became a primary benefactor of the MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital after he pledged to donate $25 million toward the $390 million project in 2015.
Swanson ran Automated Trading Desk in Mount Pleasant before selling the financial technology business to Wall Street giant Citigroup for $680 million in 2007. He currently serves on the boards of the Bank of South Carolina, YESCarolina and the College of Charleston, among other organizations.
“We are excited to welcome two of Charleston’s great tech business leaders who have shown not only their expertise in building amazing companies, but also their commitment to the Charleston community,” said Jonathan Yantis, CEO of QuicksortRx.
Yantis and co-founder Matt Hebbard launched the company within the MUSC Innovation Center in 2016. The early goal was create a software platform that would allow the sprawling health system to track its pharmaceutical supply chain in real time and make purchasing adjustments to help lower medication expenses.
It was later spun off as AscendRx before being renamed last year.
“Our tools are helping health systems around the country realize millions of dollars in pharmacy purchase savings without increasing workloads for staff,” QuicksortRx said on its website.
First in nation treatment for MIS-C, COVID-19 complication, at MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s HospitalMUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital in Charleston on leading edge of treatment see more
When 4-year-old K.J. Griffin arrived at MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital in Charleston, South Carolina, the normally bubbly boy who loves to ride his bike and play outside with his friends was frighteningly limp.
His mother was stunned and exhausted. The little boy she’d worried about for days as his fever spiked had already been to a hospital near their home in rural Smoaks. But the condition K.J. was suffering from was so new and rare that it went unrecognized.
So Talaiyah Stephens watched over her son at home, doing what she could to ease his symptoms but feeling helpless as he got sicker and sicker. “He didn’t want to talk. All he would do was sleep. He’d wake up, throw up, go to the bathroom, then lay back down and go to sleep. He would look at you like he was staring right through you.”
When K.J.’s fever rose to 105 degrees and wouldn’t come down, Stephens came to a decision. She would drive him to MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital, about an hour and 15 minutes away. It was a choice that saved his life.
Life sciences community at WestEdge is booming see more
The newest WestEdge building is in stark contrast to the former landfill it is built on.
The glass-exterior 22 WestEdge office and research structure rises with a gleam above the underground layers of trash.
Evoking modernity and progress in eight stories, the 125-foot-tall building is touted as the tallest multi-tenant office structure on the peninsula and in the Charleston region.
The 156,000-square-foot building recently opened with 78 percent of it leased in advance, closing out the first phase of the long-planned WestEdge development.
Only two floors remain unoccupied, but ready for build-out with piles of drywall, ceiling tiles, wall studs and other building supplies lying on the floor.
The ground floor houses retail and restaurant space with Rush Bowls restaurant now open and French cafe Saveurs Du Monde to follow soon. REV, formerly Heritage Trust, Federal Credit Union and The Smile Store/Charleston Orthodontics recently began serving clients, too, on the first level. Read on for the entire article...
David Zaas, M.D., named CEO for MUSC Health - Charleston Div. and Chief Clinical Officer for MUSC HealthDavid Zaas Named to executive post at MUSC see more
Patrick J. Cawley, M.D., CEO for MUSC Health and vice president for Health Affairs, University, named David Zaas, M.D., MBA, as the new chief executive officer, MUSC Health - Charleston Division, and chief clinical officer for MUSC Health. In these roles, Zaas will report directly to Cawley, who leads the entire MUSC Health statewide system. Following a national search, Zaas was recommended for this major leadership position by a search committee co-chaired by Prabhakar Baliga, M.D., chair, Department of Surgery, and Lisa Montgomery, MHA, MUSC executive vice president, Finance and Operations. Zaas is scheduled to join MUSC in July.
As the CEO of MUSC Health - Charleston, Zaas will lead the MUSC Hospital Authority in Charleston, including the MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital and Pearl Tourville Women’s Pavilion. He will oversee the executive leadership team of the MUSC Health - Charleston Division and serve on the MUSC Health System Council, as CEO of our flagship hospital. His responsibility as chief clinical officer will involve providing guidance and advice on health care system strategies.
“Dr. Zaas has a deep appreciation for academic medicine and its critical role in research and innovation,” Cawley said. “He has a history of leading and promoting successful collaboration among a university, practice plan and health system. In addition, he is a profound advocate for patient and family centeredness and has a demonstrated track record of leading clinical growth, financial success and top performance in quality and safety. We look forward to the many contributions he can make to our health system,” he added.
Prior to accepting his new role, Zaas served as president of Duke Raleigh Hospital since 2014. His previous leadership positions at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, include: chief medical officer, Duke Faculty Practice Diagnostic Clinic; medical director, Duke University Hospital; vice chair, Department of Medicine, Duke University; and medical director for Lung and Heart-Lung Transplantation, Duke University Hospital. He has played a central role in advancing multiple key strategic initiatives for Duke Health, including care redesign, clinical integration and improving access for patients.
Zaas holds a B.A. in biology from Yale University, an M.D. from Northwestern University Medical School, and an MBA from Duke University. He completed his internal medicine residency at Johns Hopkins Hospital and fellowship in pulmonary and critical care at Duke University. Zaas’s academic interests have involved both translational and clinical research focused on improving outcomes from lung transplantation including the role of infectious complications after transplant.
About MUSC Health
As the clinical health system of the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), 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 2019, for the fifth 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.
Founded in 1824, 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. For information on academic programs, visit musc.edu.
Greenwood Genetic Center, MUSC affiliate to improve patient access to innovations in genetic servicesMUSC partners with Greenwood Genetic Center see more
The Greenwood Genetic Center (GGC) and the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) have signed an affiliation agreement with the goal of providing patients across South Carolina with accessible, high-quality, coordinated and cost-effective genetic services through a collaborative approach to providing medical care. The two entities have worked together informally on clinical consultations, provider education and research for more than a decade. This affiliation seeks to formalize and expand the depth and breadth of the relationship. According to MUSC, a partnership with the state’s most advanced and innovative genetic center was an easy choice.
“I live in Greenwood, and I’ve said for years that a lot people don’t understand what an absolute gem this center is,” said Charles Schulze, chairman of the MUSC Board of Trustees. “They’ve helped almost 100,000 families across the state make incredibly important decisions, unmasked difficult-to-diagnose conditions, and have been there for these families every step of the way when faced with good news, or not so good news.”
While there are any number of reasons people may want to learn more about how their genetics may affect their or their loved ones health, all patients want the same thing: high-quality care at the lowest cost and access to the latest technologies, diagnostics and research related to their genetic stories. In the interest of better serving these needs, the initial goals of the partnership include:
- Increasing access to clinical genetic services for MUSC patients and all South Carolinians
- Optimizing the patient journey to improve wait times for appointments and consultations
- Sharing critical resources and expertise where possible to lower costs
- Pursuing workforce development, research, clinical trials and treatment collaborations.
Nearly every child in South Carolina who was diagnosed with a genetic birth defect, developmental delay or other hereditary disorder has already been referred to GGC, due to the center’s expertise with rare conditions and commitment to new technologies and diagnostics. GGC, a nonprofit institute centered on research, clinical genetic services, diagnostic laboratory testing and educational programs and resources, is focused on compassionate patient care and innovative scientific advancement.
About Greenwood Genetic Center
The Greenwood Genetic Center (GGC), founded in 1974, is a nonprofit organization advancing the field of medical genetics and caring for families impacted by genetic disease and birth defects. At its home campus in Greenwood, South Carolina, a talented team of physicians and scientists provides clinical genetic services, diagnostic laboratory testing, educational programs and resources, and research in the field of medical genetics. GGC’s faculty and staff are committed to the goal of developing preventive and curative therapies for the individuals and families they serve. GGC extends its reach as a resource to all residents of South Carolina with satellite offices in Charleston, Columbia, Florence and Greenville. For more information about GGC please visit www.ggc.org.
Clemson's Martine LaBerge shapes students, future through ehr work see more
Martine LaBerge said that in her 17 years leading Clemson University’s bioengineering department, she has learned something about leadership that she passes on to colleagues who are just starting down the same path.
“I tell them it’s all about people,” she said. “You get people aligned under one roof to believe in one brand and to have a mission that is focused on something other than themselves.”
A new award has brought leadership sharply into focus for LaBerge, who has served as chair of the bioengineering department since 2002.
The Biomedical Engineering Society recently honored LaBerge with the inaugural Herbert Voigt Distinguished Service Award. The honor recognizes her extraordinary service to the society through volunteering and leadership.
It’s the latest of many milestones in a career devoted to advancing the field of bioengineering and turning Clemson’s bioengineering department into a powerhouse of education and research.
“Dr. LaBerge epitomizes the kind of leadership we seek at Clemson,” said Robert Jones, executive vice president for academic affairs and provost. “For our future success it is vital to look at what she has accomplished in bioengineering as a benchmark and instill a similar passion in the next generation. If we do this well, it will strengthen Clemson for decades to come.”
LaBerge has helped establish new collaborations with the likes of Arthrex, Prisma Health and the Medical University of South Carolina. She has had a hand in hiring all but one of the department’s 30 faculty members, and she has worked with them to develop new curricula.
LaBerge was at the helm when a 29,000-square-foot annex was added to Rhodes Engineering Research Center. And she played a central role in establishing the Clemson University Biomedical Engineering Innovation Campus, also called CUBEInC.
The department’s faculty, with LaBerge’s support, lead two separate Centers of Biomedical Excellence, together representing $37 million in funding from the National Institutes of Health.
Clemson ranks fourth this year among the nation’s best value schools for biomedical engineering, according to bestvalueschools.com. And in a separate ranking by U.S News & World Report, Clemson ranked 21st among biomedical engineering programs at public universities nationwide.
I.V. Hall, a former master’s student under LaBerge who is now on the department’s advisory board, said she has the ability to get people to buy into a vision and deliver what it takes to make it happen.
“Her influence and her passion are the reasons the department is where it is,” said Hall, who is worldwide president for the DePuy Synthes Trauma, Craniomaxillofacial and Extremities Division. “She personifies Clemson bioengineering.”
Throughout her career, LaBerge has remained in touch with students and their needs.
The commitment to students made an impression on Margarita Portilla, who holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in bioengineering and is now pursuing her Ph.D. in bioengineering.
“Dr. LaBerge is very close and always interacting with her students,” Portilla said. “I was always fascinated with her. As an undergraduate, I told my friends, ‘When I grow up, I want to be like Dr. LaBerge.’”
One of LaBerge’s guiding principles is summed up in the department’s motto, “exemplifying collegiality.”
At the start of each semester, she asks faculty to reflect on how collegial they are, using a short questionnaire and meter they can use to assess themselves. She also gives students a wallet-size card with the department’s mission, vision and goals, underscored by the motto in capital orange letters.
LaBerge calls it their “credit card to graduate and be successful in life.”
She said that what she likes best about her job is mentoring faculty, networking, building Clemson’s academic reputation and working with students.
“There is no better professional than a Clemson bioengineering student,” LaBerge said. “It’s because of the way we educate them. They’re honest, and they have integrity. Our kids leave with emotional intelligence, because they see people doing it. We teach by example, and we lead by example. And I think everybody in this department is like that.”
Nicole Meilinger, a senior bioengineering major, credits LaBerge with helping open several opportunities for her.
She said that LaBerge encouraged her to apply for a three-semester rotation at CUBEInC through the Cooperative Education Program. The position put Meilinger into contact with some of the department’s industry partners and gave her the chance to conduct research.
Meilinger said her work was published, and she had the opportunity to present her findings at conferences.
LaBerge also introduced Meilinger to a class on developing and selling medical devices and recommended her for an Arthrex scholarship, which she received. Meilinger said that she has secured an internship with Arthrex and plans to start after graduating in May.
“I came into bioengineering not knowing what I wanted to do, and Dr. LaBerge has been the biggest mentor in helping me find different career paths,” Meilinger said. “She’s always helping us in ways you can’t even imagine.”
LaBerge, who is originally from Canada, arrived at Clemson as an assistant professor in 1990. She remembers having offers from other U.S. schools within a year. Two years after she arrived at Clemson, she interviewed to be an astronaut, she said.
“That was when they were working on the space station,” LaBerge said. “Canada needed a couple of astronauts. I went through the interview process.”
Ultimately, another candidate was chosen, and LaBerge said that she admired and followed his career.
What has kept her at Clemson for nearly decades are the opportunities in the department.
“Larry Dooley (retired bioengineering chair and Clemson vice president of research) was a big mentor of mine,” LaBerge said. “He always saw positive, he always saw growth, he always saw big. I’m the kind of person who does not like to sit down. I like big things to look after. So, I think Larry was very instrumental with this.”
LaBerge has held numerous leadership positions in professional organizations, including president of the Society of Biomaterials, member of the Biomedical Engineering Society Board of Directors and chair of the Council of Chairs of Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering in the U.S. and Canada.
In Clemson, her leadership positions included seven months in 2013 as acting dean of what was then the College of Engineering and Science, before the current dean, Anand Gramopadhye took the helm.
“Dr. LaBerge’s passion inspires students, faculty and staff to aspire to greater heights, learn more and achieve to the best of their abilities,” Gramopadhye said. “The Department of Bioengineering is thriving under her leadership. Further, she has exhibited leadership in key professional organizations, helping enhance Clemson’s national reputation in bioengineering. I congratulate her on the Herbert Voigt Distinguished Service Award. It is richly deserved.”
MUSC named to the Forbes 2019 list of America’s Best Large Employers see more
The Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) has been ranked No. 267 out of 500 organizations on the Forbes 2019 list of America’s Best Large Employers. MUSC is one of only 22 organizations included in the Healthcare & Social category. This is the second time MUSC has appeared on this annual Forbes list, which pinpoints the companies liked best by employees.
“Employee engagement and satisfaction are critical elements in achieving any organization’s success in both the short term and long term,” said MUSC President David J. Cole, M.D., FACS. “This recognition is a valuable acknowledgment of our ongoing efforts to provide every employee with a work environment where they are supported, appreciated and part of positive, life-changing teams.”
Collaborating with market research firm Statista, Forbes surveyed more than 50,000 employees working at U.S. companies and organizations with at least 1,000 people. The survey was conducted with global digital data collection partners who use innovative technology and proven sampling methodologies to facilitate a deep understanding of consumer opinions and behavior. Participation in the survey was voluntary, and respondents were recruited from thousands of sources to maximize reach and representation.
The survey included more than 30 detailed questions about working conditions. In addition, the American employees were asked to determine, on a scale of zero to 10, how likely they were to recommend their employers to someone else. The survey also stratified workers’ responses on topics like innovation, remuneration, benefits and atmosphere. Further, they were asked how they feel about the other employers in their respective industries. The mix of respondents (gender, age, region and ethnicity) in the sample represents American employees.
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 700 residents in six colleges: Dental Medicine, Graduate Studies, Health Professions, Medicine, Nursing and Pharmacy. The state’s leader in obtaining biomedical research funds, MUSC brought in more than $276.5 million in fiscal year 2018.
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 2018, for the fourth consecutive year, U.S. News & World Report named MUSC Health the number one hospital in South Carolina. To learn more about clinical patient services, visit http://muschealth.org.
MUSC and its affiliates have collective annual budgets of $3 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. For information on academic programs, visit musc.edu.
MUSC continues advances in telehealth see more
The Medical University of South Carolina has received a $3.6 million grant to support the development of a national telehealth research network.
As opposed to supporting a specific clinical research study, the grant seeks to establish an easily accessible support structure around telehealth research, including tools, resources, collaboration, education and advocacy materials to anyone across the country who wants to study telehealth programs.
“We expect this network to become the preeminent source for evidence-based policy and outcomes data,” said Brook Yeager McSwain, health policy consultant for the project and manager of the S.C. Children’s Telehealth Collaborative, in a news release. “Our national and state legislators have seen the benefits of telehealth for certain populations and regions. We have to demonstrate to them that this works across the country and has the potential to dramatically impact health care delivery models.”
The five-year National Institutes of Health grant builds on work already underway as part of the Supporting Pediatric Research on Outcomes and Utilization of Telehealth project, known as Sprout. The grant will support telehealth research efforts, metric development, identification of best practices and the development of collaborative policy and advocacy materials across the country.
Sprout is a network of institutions and pediatric providers operating within the American Academy of Pediatrics, which is a sub-awardee of the grant. The other sub-awarded institutions are the University of Colorado – Children’s Hospital Colorado, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and Mercy Hospital in St. Louis.
“This is a huge step forward in the development of safe and impactful telehealth programs across the country,” said Dr. S. David McSwain, the primary investigator for the NIH grant, in the release. “Academic research into the real impact of telehealth services is a critical component of developing and growing programs with the greatest potential to improve our health care system.”
In 2015, McSwain, who is also an MUSC Children’s Health physician, MUSC chief medical information officer and associate professor of pediatric critical care, collaborated with a small group of pediatric physicians across the country to form Sprout, which has since completed and published the nation’s first broad assessment of pediatric telehealth infrastructure across the country.
The grant is a Collaborative Innovation award through the National Center for the Advancement of Translational Science. The program will operate in collaboration with Clinical and Translational Science Awardsites across the country to facilitate research development and support telehealth researchers to develop projects and find funding.
USEDA awards major grant to South Carolina group see more
Summerville, S.C.– SCRA has been awarded approximately $750,000 in federal grant funding by the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) as part of the 2018 Regional Innovation Strategies Competition. The grant will fund the creation of the South Carolina Medical Device Alliance to invent and develop products and bring them to market. This partnership, comprised of Clemson University, the Medical University of South Carolina and industry leaders, will form a regional innovation cluster to grow the economic impact of the medical device industry through job creation and startup formation, as well as to attract international businesses to establish a presence in South Carolina. The project total is $1,814,846, which includes the federal grant funding and matching funds.
“We are honored to be one of forty recipients nationwide,” said Christine Dixon Thiesing, SCRA’s Director of Academic Programs. “This program will serve South Carolina’s academic institutions and clinical innovators to overcome challenges inherent in the commercialization of medical devices. Building the medical device sector will also diversify South Carolina’s economy strategically by leveraging the existing skilled workforce and fostering a broader range of job opportunities for its workers.”
“MUSC’s Foundation for Research Development (FRD) is excited to be partnering with SCRA on this project,” said Michael Rusnak, Executive Director of FRD. “This gives MUSC one more vehicle to advance medical device technologies through our company startup activities; a substantial win for local economic development and more importantly, patients.”
“I am constantly amazed by the creativeness and vision that our students bring to their senior design projects here at Clemson,” said Dr. John DesJardins, Director of Clemson Bioengineering’s Undergraduate Design Program. “Our clinical and industry partnerships in design are essential to this educational process, and we are excited to have the medical devices invented in our senior design program serve as a pipeline in the development and commercialization of innovative biomedical devices.”
The Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, housed within the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration, leads the Regional Innovation Strategies Program to spur innovation capacity-building activities in regions across the nation.
To learn more about the South Carolina Medical Device Alliance, including the scope of work and key personnel click here.
SCRA is a state-chartered organization that fuels South Carolina’s innovation economy by accelerating technology-enabled growth in research, academia, entrepreneurship and industry.
MUSC Health to build, operate new rural hospital in South Carolina see more
MUSC Health, the clinical enterprise of the Medical University of South Carolina, has signed a letter of intent with Lake City Community Hospital and Williamsburg Regional Hospital that authorizes MUSC to construct, own and operate a new $50 million replacement hospital. The new hospital will be a 25-bed critical access facility, providing care through traditional on-site delivery as well as through virtual visits via the extensive MUSC Telehealth Network.
Critical access hospitals serve small, rural populations and receive cost-based adjusted reimbursements for Medicare services. These cost adjustments help to stabilize rural hospitals, making them less vulnerable to financial issues. The cost-based reimbursements also improve access to much-needed health care, ensuring that essential services are available and sustainable in rural communities.
The new MUSC Health facility will serve the health care needs of the Lower Florence County Hospital District, other areas of Florence, residents of Williamsburg County, as well as neighbors from other adjacent counties. When the new MUSC facility opens, both Lake City Community Hospital and Williamsburg Regional Hospital will transfer all operations for inpatient and outpatient services to the new MUSC hospital.
"Maintaining and expanding access to health care in rural areas across our state is a challenge that my administration is committed to addressing head on," said Gov. Henry McMaster. "With tremendous partners like MUSC, the innovation and creativity that is required to succeed in this endeavor is on full display. We can all be encouraged by what today's news means for the future of health care in Williamsburg and Florence counties, and grateful for what MUSC's commitment to seeing a healthier South Carolina means for our future."
“MUSC is charged with preserving and optimizing the health of the people of our state through education, research and patient care,” said MUSC President David J. Cole, M.D., FACS. “To fulfill our mission, we must be ready to serve patients across the expanse of the Palmetto State, not just in urban areas.”
“Through our many affiliations with community and regional hospitals, and through our extended telehealth network, MUSC Health has established meaningful, life-saving collaborations and outreach across the state,” said MUSC Health CEO Patrick J. Cawley. M.D. “The restoration of a critical access hospital in this rural community and the added connectivity to MUSC specialists and resources will benefit the lives of everyone in the area.”
“We are excited by the Medical University of South Carolina’s continued commitment to rural health care and I am hopeful that this partnership will preserve and improve access to vital primary and critical care services in the region,” said Joshua Baker, director of the South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. “We are proud to support this rural transformation endeavor and continue our commitment to improving the health of all South Carolinians.”
A replacement hospital is desperately needed in Williamsburg County due to the October 2015 thousand-year floods in Kingstree, S.C., the county seat of Williamsburg and location of Williamsburg Regional Hospital. More than three years ago, some 31 inches of rainfall caused massive flooding throughout the area. Torrents of water inside the hospital building, multiplied by standing water and black mold, damaged the Williamsburg Regional Hospital building beyond repair, rendering the structure unsafe and unusable.
Determined not to abandon the citizens of Williamsburg County and the surrounding area, the leadership and providers of Williamsburg Regional Hospital have been operating a temporary hospital to serve patients since April 2016. Modular housing units serve as emergency, exam and other patient care rooms; however, a long-term solution had to be found.
“This collaboration with MUSC opens the door to a new model for rural health care, one that leverages telehealth and advanced practice providers,” said Julie Floyd, chair of the board for Williamsburg Regional Hospital. “This partnership is the right step to take for the state and for our friends and neighbors in the city and region.”
Like many other rural health care facilities, Lake City Community Hospital has also experienced financial challenges. Its leaders are working diligently to balance the uncertainties of the future with the need to expand access to health care for its citizens. For small community hospitals, the threats to long-term viability are all too real due to significant declines in both rural populations and hospital admissions.
“Our hospital has always maintained a focus on delivering the best care available to our patients and families,” said Scotty Campbell, chair of the board for Lake City Community Hospital. “To extend that focus, we must recognize the added value that MUSC Health brings to the equation. Collaborating on a new hospital to serve our friends and neighbors is the most logical, productive and fiscally responsible solution possible.”
The people served by Lake City Community Hospital and Williamsburg Regional Hospital have a history of social, economic and, to some degree, political connections dating from pre-revolutionary war times to present day. The concept of establishing a new hospital facility to serve the patient base of both community hospitals has been discussed periodically since the 1950s when the two community hospitals were being created. Bringing these discussions to fruition appears to be the most appropriate method to meet the needs of both hospitals and their patient base most effectively.
Funding options for the new MUSC Health facility in the Williamsburg and Florence communities are currently being explored. The location for the new hospital has not been finalized; however, several options are under review. Construction of the new hospital is expected to take between 24 and 36 months, thus the opening date is projected as fall 2022.
At this juncture, no decisions have been made about the disposition of either of the old hospital buildings in Kingstree and Lake City. In the coming months, leaders from MUSC, Lake City Community Hospital and Williamsburg Regional Hospital will be involved in the decision-making.
MUSC works diligently to fulfill its mission through prudent financial management, dedicated philanthropic support and strategic business growth. Roughly 60 percent of all MUSC Health patient care revenues are generated from statewide communities outside of the Tri-county area, while the remaining 40 percent of patient care revenues are driven by services delivered within the tri-county market (Charleston, Berkeley and Dorchester counties).
Medtronic partnering with MUSC to improve patient outcomes in healthcare see more
CHARLESTON, S.C., AND DUBLIN – Medtronic plc (NYSE:MDT) and the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) today announced a five-year value-based health care partnership intended to transform and improve care for patients in South Carolina. The collaboration will focus on developing solutions that improve the health outcomes and care experiences for patients while also reducing costs.
More than three million South Carolinians have at least one chronic disease such as cardiovascular disease, and the projected total cost of chronic disease between 2016-2030 in South Carolina is $687 billion. The initial focus of the partnership will be on addressing chronic diseases and acute conditions prevalent in South Carolina.
“Together with MUSC, we are committed to fundamentally improving the way patient care is delivered,” said Omar Ishrak, Medtronic chairman and chief executive officer. “Medtronic has a long history of collaboration with health care providers to invent and develop new markets to solve a variety of clinical problems. The partnership with MUSC is an extension of that collaboration, as we look to systematically work together to develop scalable programs aimed at improving patient outcomes while reducing the cost of care.”
Medtronic and MUSC are committed to jointly creating and deploying new programs that will drive better outcomes for patients while reducing costs. For example, the two organizations plan to standardize a comprehensive vascular disease care pathway across the entire continuum of patient care, ultimately implementing a model for the identification, diagnosis, treatment and follow-up care of patients with vascular disease who can benefit most from therapy. This evidence-based model is designed to help clinicians identify and treat patients earlier in their disease progression.
The two organizations also plan to implement a standardized care pathway program for joint replacement patients that addresses the bundled payment methodology implemented by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The episodic care pathway intends to establish best practices and streamline processes to improve the quality of care for patients while reducing costs. Similarly, Medtronic and MUSC also plan to standardize care pathways designed to reduce adverse events and optimize care for patients who are at risk for respiratory compromise, or who need a tracheostomy procedure for breathing assistance.
The partnership also creates a unique opportunity for MUSC to build upon existing curriculum to educate future health care professionals about value-based health care.
“This strategic partnership with Medtronic is based on our shared vision and drive to lead the transformation of health care delivery,” said MUSC President David J. Cole, M.D., FACS. “It’s about providing what’s best for our patients. The mutual goal of our organizations is to deliver the best patient outcomes at the lowest cost possible. That’s the true meaning of value-based health care. Through our collaborative partnership, we plan to combat chronic disease and address community health needs in South Carolina and beyond. We look forward to an innovative and productive relationship with Medtronic and will share tangible results of our efforts as our strategic partnership evolves.”
Both MUSC and Medtronic have networks of like-minded partners focused on advancing value-based health care in the United States. This month, Medtronic is celebrating its one-year anniversary of a partnership with Lehigh Valley Health Network in Allentown, Pennsylvania, designed to find ways to improve patient care across more than 70 major medical conditions, focusing on value. The partnership progress at Lehigh Valley Health Network is generating blueprints to help implement and scale value-based programs at MUSC.
In August 2018, MUSC announced a strategic partnership with Siemens Healthineers designed to create a blueprint of a transformed health care system that provides safe, equitable, timely, effective, efficient and patient-centered care.
MUSC and Medtronic will explore opportunities to cross-share learnings with their respective partners and collaborate to improve patient outcomes while reducing costs.
About Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC)
Founded in 1824 in Charleston, The Medical University of South Carolina is the oldest medical school in the South. Today, MUSC continues the tradition of excellence in education, research, and patient care. MUSC educates and trains more than 3,000 students and 750 residents in six colleges (Dental Medicine, Graduate Studies, Health Professions, Medicine, Nursing, and Pharmacy), and has more than 14,000 employees, including approximately 1,500 faculty members. As the largest non-federal employer in Charleston, the university and its affiliates have collective annual budgets in excess of $2.6 billion, with an annual economic impact of more than $3.8 billion and annual research funding in excess of $275 million. MUSC operates an 800-bed medical center, which includes a nationally recognized children’s hospital, the Ashley River Tower (cardiovascular, digestive disease, and surgical oncology), Hollings Cancer Center (a National Cancer Institute-designated center), Level I trauma center, Institute of Psychiatry, and the state’s only transplant center. In 2018, for the fourth consecutive year, U.S. News & World Report named MUSC Health the number one hospital in South Carolina. For more information on academic programs or clinical services, visit musc.edu. For more information on hospital patient services, visit muschealth.org.
Medtronic plc (www.medtronic.com), headquartered in Dublin, Ireland, is among the world’s largest medical technology, services and solutions companies – alleviating pain, restoring health and extending life for millions of people around the world. Medtronic employs more than 86,000 people worldwide, serving physicians, hospitals and patients in more than 150 countries. The company is focused on collaborating with stakeholders around the world to take health care Further, Together.
MUSC expands footprint with acquisition of four community hospitals in South Carolina. see more
The Medical University of South Carolina board of trustees voted Monday night to acquire four community hospitals in north-central South Carolina and the Pee Dee.
Community Health Systems, a publicly traded hospital company based in Franklin, Tenn., plans to sell the hospitals, plus their associated physician clinics and outpatient services, to MUSC:
- Chester Regional Medical Center, an 82-bed licensed facility.
- Carolinas Hospital System in Florence, a 396-bed regional, acute-care facility.
- Springs Memorial Hospital in Lancaster, a 225-bed all private-room facility.
- Carolinas Hospital System – Marion in Mullins, a 124-bed acute-care facility providing a variety of inpatient and outpatient services, as well as a 92-bed nursing center.
This is the first time MUSC has agreed to acquire other hospitals. Once the acquisition is complete, MUSC will employ more than 16,400 people throughout the state.
The Medical University of South Carolina's board of trustees voted Monday to acquire four community hospitals in the first quarter, pending approval by the State Fiscal Accountability Authority. (Photo/File)
“The additions will increase the size and scale of the MUSC Health network, and in today’s environment, larger, more efficient health care systems can deliver greater value to patients and have a positive impact on population health,” board Chairman Charles Schulze said in a news release. The MUSC board’s unanimous vote to approve the acquisition came after two hours of discussion in executive session during a special called meeting. Once called to order, the meeting almost immediately went into executive session, which is closed to the public, and the subsequent public vote took less than two minutes.
The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter, according to a news release from Community Health Systems. MUSC spokeswoman Heather Woolwine said in an email that no dollar figure for the acquisition was available yet. The transaction must still be approved by the State Fiscal Accountability Authority, according to the board’s resolution.
“As the state’s leading academic health center, we must be prepared for the future,” MUSC President Dr. David Cole said in a news release. “MUSC is committed to providing the best health care possible for our communities and state through strategic partnerships and our emerging MUSC Health network.”
MUSC topped its record for annual biomedical research funding with more than $276 million in FY2018 see more
The Medical University of South Carolina has broken its own record as the state’s leader in garnering extramural funding for biomedical research. MUSC set a new high-water mark in FY2018, bringing in more than $276.5 million. The previous MUSC record for annual biomedical research funding was more than $259 million, set in FY2016.
“Being the state’s leader in biomedical research funding year after year is a significant accomplishment, and we applaud the passion and expertise of our dedicated scientists and their teams,” said David J. Cole, M.D., FACS, MUSC president. “Even so, reaching another record-breaking number is not an end in itself. The true impact of MUSC research is reflected in how we translate discoveries into new modalities of care and life-changing therapeutics. Research is a dynamic force that fuels how we fulfill our mission to lead health innovation for the lives we touch,” he added.
Kathleen Brady, M.D., Ph.D., vice president for Research, called the accomplishment outstanding, especially during a period when being awarded research grant funding has become more intensely competitive than ever before. No other publicly assisted academic institution in South Carolina consistently garners near $250 million in research funding year after year.