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Copyright 2017 The Post and Courier
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Post & Courier (Charleston, SC)


Tidelands Health is walking the walk — literally — to improve the health and wellness of people across the Tidelands region.

The area's largest health system is launching a regionwide initiative to get people moving by building new public recreational paths around its two hospital campuses in Georgetown County and launching a free, physician-led community walking program in Horry County.

Bruce Bailey, the health system's president and CEO, said the investment in health and wellness is a manifestation of the Tidelands Health mission, "We help people live better lives through better health."

Research has shown exercise may be as effective as medication in preventing some of the leading causes of death, including heart disease and diabetes — often-preventable conditions that are prevalent in the Tidelands region.

"Our responsibility as a health system is to not only help people recover from sickness and injury but also to serve as a partner in transforming the overall health of our region," Bailey said. "When we invest in health and wellness, we are saving lives just as surely as our clinicians do inside our hospitals each day."

The health system has already begun construction on a nearly one-mile path around Tidelands Georgetown Memorial Hospital. The project will be completed in phases to accommodate ongoing renovations at the hospital.

The system is also planning to build a path along the perimeter of Tidelands Waccamaw Community Hospital in Murrells Inlet. The project is a major component of the Inlet to Intracoastal Multipurpose Path being developed by Murrells Inlet 2020.

In addition, the health system in May will launch a free community walking program called "Walk with a Doc" in The Market Common community of Horry County. Each month, a Tidelands Health physician will give a brief presentation on a health topic before leading participants on a walk around the lake at Grand Park. The event, which kicks off Saturday, May 13, at 9 a.m., will also feature healthy snacks and blood pressure checks.

Walk With a Doc, which is part of a national program started by an Ohio physician in 2005, will be held on the second Saturday of every month.

The new walking path and the local launch of Walk with a Doc are just the latest examples of Tidelands Health's efforts to improve health and wellness across the region, said H. McRoy Skipper Jr., CPA, chairman of the health system's board of trustees.

"Tidelands Health is dedicated to keeping the communities we serve healthy and active," Skipper said. "We are proud to launch these new programs in support of that commitment."

Perhaps the health system's most prominent example of community involvement is Tidelands Community Care Network, a public-private partnership that helps uninsured and underserved residents access needed health care and support services. The community care network is headquartered within the Tidelands Health Community Resource Center, which Tidelands Health opened in Georgetown last year. The innovative facility brings together medical care, social services and wellness programs under one roof.

The health system also regularly offers regional health screenings and educational events and provides financial and in-kind support to outside organizations including the American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, Black River United Way, Healthy Learners, Smith Medical Clinic and more. In fiscal 2016, Tidelands Health provided $12.5 million in community benefit to the region.

A view of the new walking path around Tidelands Georgetown Memorial Hospital.


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April 17, 2017


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