Urgent care a viable option
Written by Jerry E. Halmon   

“Urgent care is still a very viable option” for Bamberg County residents, Regional Medical Center, CEO Tom Dandridge told members of Bamberg City Council at their July 9, meeting Monday night. Dandridge, who noted the RMC already, has a presence in Bamberg County with the Offices of Dr. William Glen in Bamberg and Denmark, and would like to “build on the relationships” it has with the offices of Dr. Dale Padgett and Dr. Danette McAlhaney, would be placing its emphasis on “primary care” and bringing in specialist so the citizens of the county would not be inconvenienced by having to drive long distances for medical treatment.

“We are interested in urgent care,” Dandridge said, noting the big question is can we capture enough patients and at a reasonable price? The RMC, CEO, noted the RMC wanted to be “a support and not a hindrance” to the local physicians in Bamberg County.

Dandridge, who said he just had a planning meeting with his staff to talk about “what we can do for Bamberg” noted in a time table of a few weeks and months, plans are to: bring an x-ray unit to Dr. Glen’s Office; increase office hours at Dr. Glen’s practice and have an orthopedic surgeon on staff in August, along with the hiring of a general surgeon and gastroenterologist and OB/GYN soon.

Dandridge noted the “biggest challenge” to reestablishing a health care presence back into Bamberg County would be getting the health care workers back that had “scattered.” He noted that the RMC was looking at using former Bamberg general surgeon Dr. John Ross’s (whom he called a God sent to the RMC) old office on McGee Street as a “platform” to attract other doctors for services such as radiology, so people would not have to travel so far.

When asked by Bamberg City Council members what he was proposing would cost the city of Bamberg, Dandridge replied, the offer will not require “anything other than your good blessings.” “We must put some more concrete around our ideas,” Dandridge said, adding the RMC will be communicating directly with Mayor McCollum and the newspaper.

Mayor Pro Tem Nancy Foster and other members of council seemed to like the encouraging words they heard from Dandridge: “I don’t know what question others have, but I would very much like to see it happen,” Foster said.

Also during the meeting:

• In giving the 2011-2012 end of the year financial report, City of Bamberg Clerk/Treasurer Bruce Watson reported the City was “over in something’s and under on something's.” The City took in $32,000 more in revenues than anticipated and spent $71,000 more than anticipated, for an over expenditure of $39,000. Watson noted the City has $445,000 in its checking account at the end of this year compared to having $100,000 more last year. He noted the City at one point was $98,000 out from balancing its budget this year, due mainly from decreases in funding at the state level and because of the economy.

“That’s why we had to scramble to come up with the extra money,” Watson said, adding “thank goodness the BPW came through with its transfer to the City.” “It’s going to be a challenge,” Watson said of providing city services and keeping taxes low in the future.

• City of Bamberg Police Department Commission Bo Griffin, who chaired the 2012 City of Bamberg 4th of July Celebration, said the City had “a great 4th of July Celebration, that went very smoothly.” Griffin thanked the Bamberg Police Department and Bamberg Fire Department for “an excellent job” and for the assistance of the Bamberg County Sheriff’s Office and the South Carolina Highway Patrol. Council members also thanked Tobul Accumulator and Phoenix Specialty Manufacturing for sponsoring another spectacular fireworks display again this year.