SC Health Care Gap

Widening between urban & rural areas

South Carolina Radio Network
January 21, 2019 - 1:49 pm

ID 127007370 © Monkey Business Images |



The gap in positive health outcomes between those living in urban and rural areas continues to widen across the country, and South Carolina is no exception.

The Clemson University Joseph F. Sullivan Center mobile health clinic. (Source: Clemson University)

Put simply, living in a rural or underserved urban area often means being sicker and dying sooner. But Clemson University health professionals believe much of it could be remedied by better health care access. The school said it will expand the use of its Sullivan Center mobile health center as the need continues to increase.

The United Health Foundation ranks South Carolina 42nd in health among all states. South Carolina saw approximately 7,400 potentially excess deaths in 2015 among the five leading causes of death, and almost half of these occurred among rural populations.

The mobile health clinic was unveiled in November 2016. The truck serves mostly uninsured, minority populations in both rural and urban areas. Each patient served saves an average of $1,600 in health care-related costs due to health education and prevention.

The Sullivan Center celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2018. It marked the occasion with a record number of mobile outreach visits, and it also celebrated the culmination of years of work to increase connectivity across the state so that rural areas and mobile clinics alike could operate more securely and efficiently. The vehicle was made possible with help from state Sen. Thomas Alexander, R- Oconee, and a steady string of successes, the Center is poised to do much more.

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