New Partnership Aims to Improve Healthcare Access for Seniors in South Carolina

New Partnership Aims to Improve Healthcare Access for Seniors in South Carolina

A new partnership between the South Carolina Department on Aging and nonprofit organization Palmetto Care Connections aims to improve healthcare access for thousands of seniors across the state. As the population of seniors in South Carolina is expected to reach a quarter of the total population within the next decade, ensuring access to healthcare, especially in rural and underserved areas, has become a top priority.

The partnership will involve placing telehealth carts in 18 senior centers and councils on aging throughout the state. These carts will allow staff members at the centers to assist seniors in conducting telehealth visits with their primary and specialty care doctors, eliminating the need for physical visits to the doctor’s office. This not only reduces the risk of exposure to illnesses but also cuts down on travel time to specialized healthcare facilities.

The telehealth carts have been in use since 2021 in select counties, and thanks to funding from the federal government, they will now be expanded to 14 additional counties. These counties were chosen based on their rural locations and high health disparities. The long-term goal is to make these telehealth carts available in all 46 counties across the state, allowing seniors to conduct telehealth visits from the comfort of their own homes.

While Medicare currently covers telehealth visits for most seniors in the state, the Department on Aging plans to advocate for private insurance companies to cover these visits as well. The state legislature has been instrumental in promoting telehealth and creating a foundation for its widespread use.

This partnership represents a significant step towards improving healthcare access for seniors in South Carolina. By leveraging telehealth technology, seniors, especially those in rural areas, can receive quality healthcare services without the need for extensive travel or physical visits to doctors’ offices.

– Department on Aging, South Carolina
– Palmetto Care Connections

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