Sandwiched right in between Greenville and Spartanburg is the small town of Greer, South Carolina, one of the fastest-growing communities in the state.
Greer has much of the feel of a small town but is close to a major interstate – I-85 – and Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport. It’s also home to a thriving downtown area known as Greer Station and the only BMW manufacturing plant in the United States.
With the combination of big-city amenities and a small, close-knit community, it’s no surprise that so many people are flocking to Greer. But the health care industry is also very attractive to the area. Greer is home to two different hospitals – Pelham Medical Center and the Prisma Health Greer Memorial Hospital – as well as a branch of the Gibbes Cancer Center & Research Institute.
“Health care has changed dramatically in Greer over the past 25 years,” said Dr. Benjamin Hester, family physician at Doctors Family Medicine, which is part of Bon Secours. “Greer has grown so much that all of the major hospital systems in the area have established a presence in town. Greer has gone from an afterthought to a major attraction to the health care arena.”
The health care industry is deeply woven within the community of Greer due to the close relationships between providers and residents. Health care specialists do their best to keep everyone within the community safe and healthy, but they also take the time to get to know their patients and provide friendly, personalized care.
“Greer is one of the fastest-growing areas of the state, but the city has done so while retaining a strong sense of community,” said Tony Kouskolekas, president of Pelham Medical Center, the Greer branch of Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System. “Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System is fortunate to be part of that growth, expanding our footprint by adding primary care offices as well as surgical services at Pelham Medical Center. While doing so, we also embrace being part of this vibrant community. Whether you are seeing a doctor at one of our practices or seeking emergency care at Pelham Medical Center, we are honored to partner with you to meet your health care goals.”
This strong connection to community is always needed, but it’s been especially crucial over the past year during the COVID-19 pandemic. Doctors, nurses and other health care employees have had to work long, hectic hours to keep their patients healthy. Having strong relationships with the people that they care for is beneficial to both the patient and the health care provider.
“Throughout the pandemic, we received support from partners such as the Greer Chamber of Commerce, which closely monitored COVID-19’s impact on our community and provided up-to-date information to local businesses,” said Gayla Loudermilk, New Horizon Family Health Services Greer’s office practice manager. “I think providing patient-centered care has become even more important over the years. At NHFHS, our team offers integrated care, including primary medical and behavioral health services and affordable prescription medications.”
But there’s more than one way to keep the community healthy. So many of the hospitals and doctors’ offices in Greer have established community-centric programs to provide resources outside of health care. Loudermilk mentioned the care management team at NHFHS, which helps connect patients with people and organizations that can help with issues such as food insecurity, transportation problems, lack of housing or employment.
“For over 20 years, NHFHS has served the Greer community by providing high-quality, affordable primary care to adults and children,” said Stephen Williams, NHFHS’ vice president and chief operating officer. “NHFHS is the only entity offering care with fees based on a sliding scale that take into account the patient’s financial situation. We also provide services to those experiencing homelessness and to patients who have been diagnosed with HIV, patients needing assistance with behavioral health or substance use disorders, and we provide adult and pediatric dental services with a mobile unit.”
The strong connection to the community really isn’t a surprise. The entire city of Greer, although it is growing rapidly, is still able to maintain the feeling of being a small town. Health care providers genuinely enjoy having great relationships with their patients because they feel like taking care of individual patients is taking care of the community as a whole.
“At Pelham Medical Center, the patient is the focus of everything we do,” said Chief Nursing Officer Myra Whiten. “We strive to make sure our patients have an excellent experience while they are here – whether they are a patient in the emergency room or having surgery. We love caring for this community. Our caregivers are your neighbors, and we look forward to serving your families.”
By Katharine Waters