Palmetto Health wins award for reducing health care disparities

Posted on 4/28/2017

Palmetto Health is one of four hospitals selected to receive an award for Best Overall Project by the Disparities Solutions Center at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Palmetto Health was selected from among 16 U.S. health care organizations participating in the Disparities Leadership Program’s 2016-2017 class. This award is based on various criteria, including the breadth of impact of the project on the organization, use of Disparities Leadership Program tools and skills, and overall achievements over the course of the year. Palmetto Health’s project was chosen for its work with African-American patients diagnosed with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

Last year, Vince Ford, chief community health officer, and Cynthia Walters, corporate director of Diversity and Inclusion, were selected to participate in a yearlong leadership program to reduce health care disparities as part of the South Carolina Hospital Association’s Healthy SC Alliance. Ford and Walters worked with a team of Palmetto Health medical experts, including Mark Mayson, M.D., system vice president, Quality & Patient Safety, and Leah Inman, system director for Respiratory Care, to propose solutions and opportunities to reduce the health system’s re-admission for African-Americans with COPD. Research shows that African-Americans are more likely than Caucasians to be re-admitted to the acute care setting within 30 days of discharge.

“This award symbolizes the work we are doing to eliminate health disparities and create healthier communities,” said Ford. “Keeping our patients healthy and identifying ways to reduce re-admissions is vital to our patients, community and hospitals.”

Joseph R. Betancourt, M.D., MPH, director of the Disparities Solutions Center at MGH, added, “This program is about developing new leaders and taking action. It is about helping individuals and their health care organizations understand the critical connection between improving quality and eliminating disparities in care through a concerted, coordinated effort to change our health care system.”

The Disparities Leadership Program aims to create leaders prepared to meet the challenges of health care transformation by improving quality for at-risk populations who experience disparities.

About Palmetto Health

Palmetto Health, the largest health care system in the South Carolina Midlands region and one of the state’s largest employers, comprises more than 15,000 team members, physicians and volunteers working together to fulfill Palmetto Health’s Vision: To be remembered by each patient as providing the care and compassion we want for our families and ourselves. The system includes six acute-care hospitals in the Midlands—Palmetto Health Baptist, Palmetto Health Baptist Parkridge, Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital, Palmetto Health Heart Hospital, Palmetto Health Richland and Palmetto Health Tuomey. In the South Carolina Upstate region, Palmetto Health also co-owns Baptist Easley Hospital. Recognized nationally as one of the best places to work and receive care, the system also includes the Palmetto Health-USC Medical Group, the region’s largest multispecialty group, which serves as the entry point to the health care system with more than 500 providers serving patients in more than 80 practices and nearly 100 locations. Palmetto Health also is supported by two 501 (c)(3) foundations, and trains the next generation of physicians through its 24 residency and fellowship programs affiliated with the University of South Carolina School of Medicine. For more information, visit or call 803-296-CARE (2273).


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