For more than 40 years, CareSouth Carolina has stood by its community, serving as a medical home- a place where people can experience healing, caring relationships- regardless of their personal circumstance, and the best is yet to come.
CareSouth Carolina is celebrating its 40th year anniversary and though the organization has grown immensely over the last four decades, the mission remains the same: To improve the health and well-being of everyone.
CareSouth Carolina started with humble beginnings in 1980 when Society Hill Family Health Clinic opened its doors with five employees and provided services to 24 patients. In November of that same year, Ann Lewis- the current CEO for CareSouth Carolina- stepped in as the director for the organization.
“It is extremely hard for me to believe that we are celebrating the forty year anniversary of CareSouth Carolina. And since I have been here for that forty years, it becomes even more difficult to believe,” Lewis said. “From a small, four-person staff to our current staff of more than 550, we don’t even seem like the same organization. Being able to work with an organization like CareSouth as it has grown and as its impact on so many patients and communities has been undeniable – all of this has been so humbling and even overwhelming.”
“Although there is still so much to do, we can truly say that we are “improving the health and wellbeing for everyone,”’ Lewis said.
In 1985, Bishopville, Clio and McColl sites who were part of the Lee Medical Practice joined the Society Hill Family Health Clinic. In 1986, Society Hill family Health Clinic began doing business as Pee Dee Community Health Services before eventually ending on the name ‘CareSouth Carolina’ in 1996.
Over the course of its history, CareSouth Carolina has seen exponential growth throughout the Pee Dee and strives to offer a full-patient experience for everyone in rural areas of the state that may not have access to care otherwise.
“It just grabs you by the heart – community health,” Lewis said. “There are not that many jobs that make this kind of difference in people’s lives.”
In 2019, CareSouth Carolina opened the doors to its state-of-the-art McColl Health & Wellness Center. The new facility, located at 3080 Highway 15- 401 E, has a total of 28,992 square-feet and more than quadruples the organization’s capacity to provide services to Marlboro County and its surrounding areas.
The center offers space for additional primary care providers, behavioral health counseling, lab services, family support services and senior support services in a county that does not have a hospital. The new facility houses a state-of-the-art Cardiac Rehab with a therapy pool and whirlpool, a gym with exercise equipment, coffee bar and a teaching kitchen. In addition to medical, dental and wellness services provided, the center has a Helipad on its property to airlift those in need of emergency medical attention.
In addition, CareSouth Carolina is set to open the doors to its newest facility in Chesterfield later this year. The Chesterfield office, a 17,000-square foot state-of-the-art facility, will provide space for additional primary care providers, dental services, behavioral health counseling, x-ray, lab, ultrasound, pharmacy with a drive thru and a community room for various health and community events.
And CareSouth Carolina is still growing.
CareSouth Carolina has broken ground on a facility in Dillon that will be a partnership with the South Carolina Department of Health & Human Services (SC-DHEC).
Today, CareSouth Carolina sees more than 36,000 patients every year at 14 different locations across five counties in the Pee Dee region. The organization operates medical centers in Bennettsville, Bishopville, Cheraw, Chesterfield, Dillon, Hartsville, Lake View, Latta, McColl and Society Hill.
An organization that began with just four now has more than 500 employees.
CareSouth Carolina offers extensive services to those areas of the Pee Dee region, including family practice, internal medicine, pediatrics, women services, OB/GYN, HIV/AIDS primary care, dental, chiropractic services, pharmacy, substance-use prevention, geriatrics, social services, clinical counseling, laboratory, 4D ultrasound, X-Ray, migrant services and veterans choice provider.
In addition to providing a scope of services at its medical centers across the Pee Dee, CareSouth Carolina also provides comprehensive medical services through its ROADS (Reaching Out and Delivering Services) units.
Mobile ROADS provides school-based care for students in 57 schools in five different school districts in the Pee Dee. Care ROADS also provides school-based care, but can be dispatched during natural disasters to provide remote care. Freedom ROADS provides remote Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) services on-site at three area addictions-treatment agencies weekly for those struggling with substance abuse disorders.
CareSouth Carolina also has mobile dental units that provide comprehensive dental services in the community and at more than 57 schools in the Pee Dee through its “Miles of Smiles” program. Through that program, the organization serves thousands of children with school-based dental care each year.
All in all, though, CareSouth Carolina is still about the one patient looking for a place to experience excellent care and service — a place where he or she can feel at home — and always welcome.