A vibrant swirl of purple, orange and red flashed by my peripheral vision as I was wheeled into a local Greenville Health System hospital after an unfortunate tangle with a shower door and a slippery tile floor. Just as my chair was parked in the waiting room, my eyes began to roam over the lobby for the curious rainbow of sunset colors that had briefly caught my attention earlier. I scanned over the expansive room and locked my vision on a large banner with a tagline, “Greenville Health System and Palmetto Health are becoming Prisma Health.”
In the past few months, South Carolina Upstate locals may have had a similar experience when walking into a GHS emergency room or primary care office. This leads to the question: “What is Prisma Health?”
The unique name arose out of the organization’s desire to reflect – similar to the multifaceted refractories of a prism – their energetic vibe, new outlook on modern health care and their purpose: “Inspire health. Serve with compassion. Be the difference.”
According to Malcolm Isley, chief strategy officer at Prisma Health, “These three sentences, eight words in all, describe why our organization was created. Our purpose is nice and broad with room for all team members to communicate how they live and practice the purpose of Prisma Health.”
Prisma Health’s origins are rooted in the big picture problem of South Carolina health care.
Currently, in both the Upstate and Midlands of South Carolina, residents spend over $17 billion annually on health care services; however, the state is ranked 43rd in the nation in general health care, according to America’s Health Ranking.
GHS (Upstate affiliate) and Palmetto Health (Midlands affiliate) were acutely aware that a big picture solution needed to be created in order to successfully combat the dichotomy of rising health care costs and the consistent decline of overall medical care in South Carolina. The solution: GHS and Palmetto Health would combine their statewide expertise to become a powerhouse health system, and Prisma Health was born.
“Our citizens deserve better, and, as the leading health care systems in the state, it is our responsibility to help improve these statistics through improving clinical quality and the patient experience, expanding access to care and addressing rising health care costs,” said Isley.
In 2017, both organizations announced the creation of SC Health Company with former Palmetto Health CEO Charles Beaman and former GHS CEO Mike Riordan at the helm as co-CEOs. The creation of SC Health Company was crucial to the initial development of Prisma Health by leading the organization through the regulatory, financial and legal steps to form the new union.
Throughout 2017 and 2018, the SC Health Company teams worked tirelessly to shape the identity of Prisma Health. In September 2018, the company announced its new name, and, in January 2019, Prisma Health launched as the largest not-for-profit health organization in South Carolina, serving over 1.2 million patients with 30,000 team members.
“Now is the perfect time to introduce Prisma Health to our communities. Patients and providers across the country are beginning to look at health care differently, from exploring new ways to deliver and receive care to an emphasis on keeping people well rather than simply treating once they are sick. We want to be at the forefront of that positive change for this industry,” said Isley.
Despite the rebranding and formation of Prisma Health, patients will still retain their primary physicians and the hospitals and physician practices that were previously associated with GHS and Palmetto Health.
For additional information on Prisma Health, visit www.prismahealth.org.
By Victoria Pujdak