FLORENCE, S.C. -- HopeHealth rolled out a new strategic plan in 2018 to take it through 2020 with focus on the customer, community and company.
“Our primary concern is our customers,” said Tiffany Straus, director of community relations.
HopeHealth CEO Carl M. Humphries said he is most excited about the two-year strategic plan. He said HopeHealth wants to set a new standard for how patents are treated.
Staff members are being trained to think of patients as guests and to treat them as such. Training includes how to speak to someone on the phone and the importance of returning calls promptly.
“We are trying to achieve excellence,” Straus said.
She said improvements are being made daily. HopeHealth now has someone dedicated to customer service, a director of customer engagement.
It also added approximately 20 new medical providers/new hires this past year. Among the new hires were two new full-time dentists. HopeHealth now has three.
One of the most important new programs added is the integrated behavioral health services, said Dr. Edward Behling, the chief medical officer at HopeHealth . He said people with mental health needs now have a licensed mental health counselor on site to see.
The number of patient visits for both dental care and behavioral health last year shows there is a need.
Last year HopeHealth saw 41,072 patients in 94,606 visits. Of those, 7,564 were dental visits and 12,768 were behavioral/counseling visits.
The health-care facility started 2019 by adding rheumatology and endocrinology services in January. Behling said there is an overwhelming need for diabetic services. He said approximately half of the adults in this area have diabetes or pre-diabetes.
“We are trying to focus on preventive measures," Straus said.
HopeHealth participated in more than 75 community events in 2018 and averaged roughly 1,000 free screenings.
These events, held mainly on Saturdays, have helped HopeHealth reach rural areas of the communities it serves in Florence, Clarendon and Williamsburg counties.
HopeHealth was presented several awards in 2018.
It became the first community health center in South Carolina to earn Gold Status as an Advocacy Center of Excellence from the National Association of Community Health Centers. It is one of only 23 centers nationwide to do so.
In March 2018, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control recognized Christy Evans, nurse practitioner, with the Diabetes Champion of the Year Award. Behling also was presented the Outstanding Clinical Contribution award by Community Integrated Management Systems (CIMS).
HopeHealth was recognized as one of the four leading community health centers in South Carolina by CIMS for performance, clinical excellence and meeting the needs of its patients.
There are 23 community health centers in South Carolina, Straus said.
“We are the second largest, but we are the best,” she said.
HopeHealth also launched a new program, Seniors with Hope, in partnership with Golden Life and the Florence Parks and Recreation Department. It is designed to provide an educational, medical and social component to benefit the rising senior population in the Pee Dee. This program is open to the community.
“Our population is aging, and we want to make sure we are providing programs for our seniors in the community,” Straus said.