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Letter to the Editor

Writer praises Edgefield County Hospital

web posted April 6, 2007

Dear Editor,
I find my self compelled to respond to someone’s seemingly random and uneducated remarks in the Wandering Minds column about our own Edgefield County Hospital. Comments were made that the Emergency Department at ECH is not staffed by qualified physicians and that the quality of care is much less than other larger facilities can provide. If this person had done any checking with the hospital or SC DHEC he or she would have discovered that our ED is staffed with more than qualified emergency personnel. Qualified physicians take 12-hour shifts and the ED is staffed with them 24/7.

There is one Nurse Practitioner who shares the schedule with them but she is eminently qualified in Emergency Medicine. The Nursing supervisor has a long dedicated career that includes many years as a critical care nurse before assuming her duties here. Another RN is a former paramedic and EMS director. Licensed and fully trained RN’s and other staff assists them. ECH’s Emergency Department saves lives every day!

ECH is also one of only two Critical Access hospitals in the state of SC. The US Congress passed legislation that allows small hospitals in rural economically depressed sections of the US to remain open and serving the communities in which they are located. Much of our county's population is POOR, has no health insurance, or qualifies for Medicaid. Other larger hospitals within driving distance particularly those across the river do not have to take our state Medicaid patients. The other local hospital is a for profit facility and only has to serve a certain number of Medicaid patients, most of those are in Aiken county. Quite often a 15-minute drive can mean life when a 30-45 minute drive will result in death. Edgefield County Hospital is vital for the medical health and well-being of the county’s residents.
Edgefield County Hospital is licensed and accredited by the Joint Commission of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) and must undergo a rigorous and detailed survey process every three years. Medicaid/ Medicare (CMS) also requires a similar survey. In addition DHEC also must license the hospital. These are all necessary for ECH to remain open and serving our county If someone is going to complain and or criticize a facility that is desperately needed by the county’s residents they should at least have their facts straight and make specific remarks that can contribute to improving the hospital's care to patients rather than random, off the cuff inaccurate ramblings.
Connie Stillinger

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