FLORENCE, S.C. – The expansion of classes offered to the community through HopeHealth was tremendous in 2017, according to Tiffany Straus, the director of community relations.

HopeHealth offers a variety of classes for patients and members of the community, including ones devoted to diabetes and nutrition.

“Another area that we have really dug into is senior services,” Straus said. “And we are just scratching the surface.”

Senior services programs at HopeHealth include the monthly Thursday at Hope program that is offered each second Thursday at the Medical Plaza in Florence. A group of organizations were brought together for this program which focuses on quality of life for seniors.

HopeHealth aims to bring educational opportunities to seniors in four areas, and Straus said there is always a medical component. Other topics pertain to safety, recreation or social activities, and business or finances.

“So there’s always health (component), and one of the other three is touched on as well during those Thursday’s at Hope,” Straus said. “Those events have grown. We’re outgrowing our space quickly.”

Deena Hilton, chief operations officer at HopeHealth, said one of the organization’s biggest, most obvious accomplishments in 2017 was the completion of Phase II of the medical plaza on North Irby Street in Florence. Phase II opened in July and allowed HopeHealth to expand some of its services.

“We brought our infectious disease team over from Palmetto Street,” Hilton said. “We moved pediatric over to the new wing. But then, we also have chiropractic care, dental services, pain management, women’s health, nutrition and diabetes services.”

Hilton said dental services at HopeHealth have also grown. HopeHealth’s dental practice started at the end of 2016, but really launched in 2017, she said.

“And we’ve really been able to, particularly over the last six months, expand those,” Hilton said. “We’ve added another dental hygienist and we’ve had a need for even more providers, and we’ll be remedying that.”

HopeHealth provides services in Florence, Clarendon, Aiken, Orangeburg and Williamsburg counties. And a large renovation project is underway at the Kingstree facility, Hilton said.

“We’re doubling the amount of square footage so that we can increase the number of providers we have down there and increase the number of services we’re able to offer,” Hilton said.

The Kingstree facility is located in a shared building with the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) on Thurgood Marshall Highway.

“Right now we just have primary care services and some specialty services that rotate in and out,” Hilton said. “Hopefully once this renovation is complete, maybe by mid-summer, there will be enough space for us to have a dedicated dental program, behavioral health services, infectious disease.”

HopeHealth CEO Carl M. Humphries said he is most excited about the organization’s new two-year strategic plan that went into effect April 1. The three focus areas of the plan are community, company and customers.

“And so, the two-year strategic plan is heavily weighted toward the customer experience and how we treat our consumers, our patients,” Humphries said. “And we really want to revolutionize within our walls how we treat people and how we provide a level of service that maybe they’re not used to in health care.”

In doing so, Humphries said HopeHealth wants to set a new standard for how patients are treated and how people experience health care in an outpatient setting.

“We feel like health care settings are not typically a place where you get red-carpet service or the type of service you experience in the hospitality industry, for example, or that you might experience at a place like Disney World,” Humphries said. “And we want to explore how we can do that, how we can become that.”

Humphries said HopeHealth is looking at various options to continue to expand its physical facilities.

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