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Partner Spotlight: Little River Medical Center

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

By: SC Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy

Teresa “Reese” Smith, a healthcare provider with the Little River Medical Center in Horry County, South Carolina, sat down with us to discuss the work that her organization does—and to outline all of the ways in which the Campaign has contributed to their long-term success in dealing with patients’ reproductive health concerns.

Tell us more about the Little River Medical Center (LRMC). What is your mission?

Our mission is to deliver quality care to all individuals, including indigent patients who don’t have insurance, who would otherwise not be able to get care or services.

We strive to deliver comprehensive quality care to all of our patients and to our community here in Horry County. We’ve actually got six primary care centers—in Little River, Loris, and South Strand, as well as three in the Myrtle Beach area, including one center for people experiencing homelessness.

What sorts of challenges does the LRMC face?

Getting uninsured and underserved individuals into care, keeping them in care, and then making sure that they follow up with their providers when they need to—that’s a big challenge for us, particularly when those individuals need specialized care.

We also serve a huge Hispanic population, and when you’re dealing with different cultures and beliefs, that’s always difficult. We have interpreters at each of our sites, and access to an interpretation hotline, so we do a good job in spite of those challenges.

Really and truly, the primary challenge we face is in filling those gaps in patient care, in making sure our female patients get their checkups, for instance: their pap-smears, mammograms, and the like. So, we’re constantly reaching out to those folks who have fallen out of care or haven’t been in to get those essential doctors’ visits taken care of.

How has collaborating with the Campaign helped the LRMC face these and other challenges?

They helped us assess our areas of weakness in the services we offer, so that we could improve. They’ve been instrumental in helping us build a better standard of care, as far as reproductive health is concerned. Now, when a person comes in, we do a sexual health assessment as a part of their regular patient history, and that’s because of input from the Campaign.

But in addition to helping us build this protocol into our practice, the Campaign also helped us build lasting community partnerships with other organizations in the area. We all came together and established a community partner committee—and I sit on that committee now!

With those partnerships, we’re able to reach out to each other when we need support—we’re able to identify needs in our shared community, and better serve all of our patients as a result.

Little River is one of the best facilities of its kind in South Carolina now. I do believe that without the Campaign’s leadership and guidance, we wouldn’t have grown in the ways that we have. My goodness, without them, I really don’t think we’d have flourished without the knowledge and insights they’ve provided us over the years.

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