Container cargo at Port of Charleston

The state agency that operates the Port of Charleston (above) has contracted with the Medical University of South Carolina to have the hospital system provide health-care services at the SPA's future Mount Pleasant headquarters. File/Provided/State Ports Authority

The Medical University of South Carolina will provide health care to employees of the State Ports Authority under a new agreement. 

MUSC will staff and operate a health clinic that will serve hundreds of port employees at the SPA's new campus in Mount Pleasant, which is expected to be completed early next year. 

Workers will be able to access virtual urgent care services and set up telehealth "visits" with MUSC providers. Those services should be available to all SPA employees, said Bob Mozdean, senior vice president of human resources for the the state maritime agency. But employees will still be able to choose their preferred health care provider, he said. 

"We wanted the full array of medical services to offer to all of our employees," he said. "We felt like MUSC met that requirement."

Having healthy employees makes good business sense, Mozdean said. The clinic will also be equipped to handle workplace injuries.

Such agreements have become more common lately as large employers try to cut spending on their employees' health. 

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Most recently, the newly opened Mercedes-Benz Vans plant in North Charleston formalized a relationship with Roper St. Francis, which operates an on-site clinic at the Palmetto Commerce Park factory.

At Boeing Co., Roper St. Francis is the “preferred partner.” But Boeing employees can still opt into a health plan that covers services outside the Roper network.

Such arrangements benefit the hospital system, too, which must vie for patients in a competitive market like Charleston's. MUSC has been forging similar deals with other employers, including the new Volvo plant in Berkeley County.

"It’s these kinds of partnerships that help create a better equipped and healthier workforce, which means more prosperity and economic growth for our state," Dr. David Cole, president of MUSC, said in a statement. 

Reach Mary Katherine Wildeman at 843-937-5594. Follow her on Twitter @mkwildeman.