Beaufort healthiest in state, Jasper far behind, study finds

Beaufort County, SC (WSAV) – Beaufort County residents are among the healthiest and longest-living people in South Carolina, according to results from a study by The Robert Wood Foundation.

The study ranked each county by certain criteria including health behaviors, clinical care, social and economic factors and physical environment.

Beaufort County came in at number one for health behaviors and length of life.

Neighboring Jasper County, however ranked 29 overall and last in the state when it came to clinical care.  The clinical care category was based on access to care and quality of care.

Dr. Rochelle Ringer, a breast surgeon at MUSC-associated with Hilton Head Hospital, sees patients from both Beaufort and Jasper Counties.

“Unfortunately, I’m not overly surprised,” Ringer said to the difference between the two counties’ ranks.

“They are very different populations, different access to care.  Even just as far as mobility and transportation issues,” Ringer added.
Getting to the doctor can be a major hurdle for rural Jasper residents, so the healthcare providers often go to them.
“The mobile mammography unit from MUSC comes down to help with those patients. We work with Volunteers In Medicine to help get to try to get patients scheduled to that to help those patients and then the unit can go to them instead of them having to go to a facility,”

Hilton Head Regional Healthcare Market CEO Jeremy Clark listed several services added in recent years at Jasper County’s Coastal Carolina Hospital.

“We have a series of free vascular screenings, free diabetes education,” Clark said.

Still, he recognized the need for more and said it’s in the works.

“We’ve started the paperwork to bring the area its first free standing ED and we’re locating it in Jasper County. We know that this community is growing and can really benefit from improved access to care,” Clark said.

To read more into the study and view county by county results, click here: http://www.countyhealthrankings.org/app/south-carolina/2017/downloads

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