UofSC, Lexington Medical Center enter new partnership
Public-private partnership boosts ties in nursing, primary care
By Kyndel Lee, email@example.com, 803-777-3697
The University of South Carolina Board of Trustees has announced a new phase in a growing public-private partnership between the university’s College of Nursing and Lexington Medical Center (LMC). A 50,000-square-foot state-of-the-art nursing simulation center and teaching space will be built on the hospital’s campus to provide clinical training for UofSC’s growing nursing student population. The project, funded by LMC, will be completed by 2024 and is estimated to cost $20 million.
The board also announced a new graduate medical education (GME) affiliation with LMC to help meet local and statewide needs for primary care physicians, a goal that aligns with UofSC School of Medicine Columbia’s mission to increase the number of primary care physicians in the state. The hospital’s first GME program will be in family medicine and will accept 13 residents per year beginning in summer 2023.
“Today’s announcements mark the beginning of an exciting new chapter in the relationship between the University of South Carolina and the Lexington Medical Center,” said UofSC President Michael Amiridis. “The establishment of a new state-of-the-art facility for the use of our Nursing program on the hospital’s campus and the creation of 13 new residencies in family practice make a strong statement of our shared commitment to building the future of health care in the Midlands and across South Carolina. I applaud the vision and innovative spirit of Dean Andrews, Dean Hall and the LMC leadership, and I’m looking forward to the implementation of our ambitious plans.”
Tod Augsburger, LMC president and CEO, said the partnership will address the state’s mounting health care provider needs.
“Lexington Medical Center is excited to expand our relationship with the University of South Carolina to creatively solve two challenges — the nursing shortage and the growing need for primary care physicians,” Augsburger said. "As leaders in the Midlands, our organizations share a responsibility and a vision to enhance services, create opportunities and support growth in our region. These endeavors mark the beginning of a strong partnership that will improve the health of our communities for generations.”
Nursing partnership expanded
In May, the college graduated 220 nurses from the Columbia campus. With the new space at LMC, UofSC will be able to graduate 400 nurses per year in the Midlands — an 80% increase annually. The new building will be used primarily for clinical training of the university’s third- and fourth-year nursing bachelor’s students as well as master’s program students. The university’s health sciences interprofessional education program also will use classroom space. The facility is expected to open for the first cohort of nursing students in fall 2024 with a groundbreaking expected this fall.
LMC will build the new nursing facility and provide clinical instructors while the university will fund equipment needed for the simulation lab as well as equipment and furnishings for classroom spaces.
“Our innovative partnership with Lexington Medical Center is great news for South Carolina residents, who will directly benefit from the training we provide to future nurses,” said Jeannette Andrews, dean of the College of Nursing. “The new teaching and learning space will provide both our organizations with a win-win opportunity to help solve South Carolina’s nursing shortage. We are gratified to help lead this charge for nursing workforce development and thrilled that Lexington Medical Center is investing in the future of nursing education for our state.”
Our innovative partnership with Lexington Medical Center is great news for South Carolina residents, who will directly benefit from the training we provide to future nurses.”
— College of Nursing Dean Jeannette Andrews
“South Carolina is projected to have the fourth-highest nursing shortage in the county by 2030,” said Melissa Taylor, vice president and chief nursing officer at Lexington Medical Center. “We’re excited about the impact of this partnership, which will grow the pipeline of skilled nurses for our organization and the state and give qualified individuals more opportunity to enter the nursing profession.”
Graduate Medical Education to begin
The board also announced a new graduate medical education (GME) affiliation with LMC
to help meet local and statewide needs for primary care physicians, a goal that aligns
with the School of Medicine Columbia’s mission to increase the number of primary care
physicians in the state.
Recruitment is underway for the first cohort of family medicine residents, who will begin training in July 2023 and be ready for independent practice in July 2026. The hospital’s Family Medicine Residency Program is poised to be one of the largest in South Carolina, increasing available residency positions in the state by 12%.
Construction began this year on a 45,000-square-foot building to house Lexington Medical Center’s graduation medical education programs’ instructional space and patient care clinics.
“We are excited to see this expansion in training positions for health professionals,” said Les Hall, dean of the School of Medicine Columbia. As we all work together, we are creating a healthier future for South Carolina.”
“Our partnership with the University of South Carolina will ensure we have a steady source of skilled, compassionate physicians who value our culture of care and want to continue practicing here in the Midlands,” said Brent Powers, chief medical officer at LMC.
The university founded both the College of Nursing and School of Medicine Columbia to help meet the state’s needs for skilled health care professionals, a focus that continues to be central to their missions.
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