ST. GEORGE -Dorchester County officials will apply for a $1 million grant from the United States Department of Agriculture to help fund the future urgent care facility that will serve residents of St. George and area, according to a county news release.
Some in the area believe such projects are long overdue in rural pockets of the county.
In March 2019, the county council adopted the Dorchester County Strategic Plan, which prioritizes the expansion of public health services in the rural part of the county. County staff identified an 8,200 square foot building at the corner of Sears Street and Northwest Railroad Avenue that was built in 2001 and used as a former women’s detention center.
The county said in the release that it contracted with SMHa, Inc. which conducted a feasibility study that confirmed converting the space into an urgent care facility and provided the county with a plan. schematic floor plan and an estimated budget.
County staff then conducted a survey of health care providers and medical facilities in the St. George area that identified the following needed services: a laboratory for blood work and diagnostics, an X-ray room for X-rays, CT scans and MRIs, and an on-site pharmacy that includes drug dispensing, telemedicine, COVID testing and vaccinations, according to the statement.
“We are very excited about having an urgent care medical facility in St. George,” said St. George Councilwoman Betty Collins. “It is absolutely necessary, and this facility will provide state-of-the-art health care and medical services that will save the lives of many people. It will also greatly improve the quality of life for residents of the St. George area and surrounding towns and communities.
Previously, Dorchester County Council authorized the use of $1 million under the American Rescue Program Act for the facility. It has been reported that with the board’s approval, he is now allowed to submit a $1 million grant application to the United States Department of Agriculture under the Emergency Health Care Program. In a rural area.
“For years, residents of the rural part of the county have not had adequate access to health care, so we are more than pleased that additional funding is possible through this USDA grant,” said Dorchester County Councilwoman Harriet Holman said in the statement. Holman represents the county. District 1, where several rural communities are located. “Providing easy access to quality health care remains a priority for the County Council, and we will remain committed to providing the community with this much needed resource.”
Holman, who could not be reached before news time, recently switched to the Republican Party after initially being elected as a Democrat. She will run against Wayne H. Reeves in the Republican primary on June 14. Reeves, a home builder, thinks District 1 has been neglected for too long.
“The upper end of the county is our jewel and we need to make sure that the growth up there is done properly and that they get our fair share of taxpayers’ money to provide the services to be offered to the citizens of the upper county. of Dorchester,” Reeves said. .
The winner of the Republican primary will face Democrat Tim Lewis in the November election.
Reeves served on the council in the 1980s and believes the current leadership is lacking in rural parts of the county.
“She (Holman) does not represent District One. She votes for everything that happens in the lower county and the upper county doesn’t get its fair share. We don’t have leadership for the upper county. That’s why we have all these disparities that exist right now.
According to the Dorchester County website, Harriet HolmanIn was sworn in on Nov. 19, 2018, to serve the remainder of Councilor Willie Davis’ unexpired term. Davis held the seat from 1991 until her death on July 26, 2018. She was then elected in January 2019.
Holman, a U.S. Army Lt. Col. (Retired), holds a Bachelor of Science degree in political science from Jackson State University and earned an MBA from Claflin University in May 2018.