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Dorchester Co. asks for $1M for urgent care clinic

Dorchester County Approved to Submit $1 Million Grant Application for Future Urgent Care Facility in St. George

It was announced in a statement that on May 2, 2022, the Dorchester County Council approved the filing of a grant application to the USDA for $1 million to help fund the future urgent care facility which will serve residents in St. George and surrounding areas.

ST. GEORGE -Dorchester County officials will file a grant application to the United States Department of Agriculture for $1 million to help fund the future urgent care facility which will serve residents in St. George and surrounding areas, according to a county press release.

Some in the area believe such projects are long overdue in the rural pockets of the county.

In March of 2019, the county council adopted the Dorchester County Strategic Plan, which prioritized the expansion of public health services to the rural part of the county. County staff identified an 8,200 square foot building on the corner of Sears Street and Northwest Railroad Avenue that was constructed in 2001 and used as the former female detention center.

The county said in the release it contracted with SMHa, Inc. who conducted a feasibility study that confirmed the conversion of the space into an urgent care facility and provided the county a schematic floor plan and estimated budget.

County staff then conducted a survey with area health care providers and medical establishments in the St. George area which identified the following needed services: a lab for bloodwork and diagnostics, radiology room for X-rays, CT scans and MRIs, and an on-site pharmacy that includes medication dispensing, telemedicine, COVID testing and vaccinations, the release said.

“We are very excited at the prospect of having an urgent care medical facility in St. George,” said St. George Councilwoman Betty Collins. “It is definitely needed, and this facility will provide state of the art healthcare and medical services that will save the lives of many. It will also greatly improve the quality of life for residents in the St. George area and for the surrounding Towns and communities.”

Previously the Dorchester County Council authorized the use of $1 million under the American Rescue Program Act for the facility. It’s reported that with council’s approval it is now authorized to submit a $1 million grant application to the United States Department of Agriculture under the Emergency Rural Healthcare Program.

“For years, residents in the rural part of the county have had inadequate access to healthcare, so we are more than thrilled that additional funding is possible through this USDA grant," said Dorchester County Councilwoman Harriet Holman in the release. Holman represents the county's District 1, where there are several rural communities. "Providing easy access to quality healthcare remains a priority for County Council, and we will remain committed to giving the community this much needed resource.” 

Holman, who could not be reached before news time, recently switched to the Republican Party after being elected initially as a Democrat. She will run against Wayne H. Reeves in the Republican Primary on June 14. Reeves, a home builder, believes District 1 has been neglected for too long.

“The upper end of the county is our jewel and we need to make sure that growth up there is done properly and they we get our fair share of the tax dollars to provide the services to give to citizens of upper Dorchester County,” said Reeves.

The winner of the Republican primary will face Democrat Tim Lewis in the November election.

Reeves served on council in the 1980’s and believes the current leadership a lacking the rural parts of the county.

“She’s (Holman) not representing district one. She is voting for everything that happens on the lower end of the county and the upper end of the county is not getting its fair share. We have no leadership for the upper end of the county. That’s why we have all these disparities that are going on right now.”

According to Dorchester County’s web site, Harriet HolmanIn was sworn in on Nov. 19, 2018 to serve the remainder of Councilman Willie Davis’ unexpired term. Davis held the seat from 1991 until his passing on July 26, 2018. She was later elected to office in January of 2019.

Holman, Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Army (Retired), has a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science from Jackson State University and earned an MBA from Claflin University in May 2018.