The Greenwood Genetic Center (GGC) and the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) have signed an affiliation agreement with the goal of providing patients across South Carolina with accessible, high-quality, coordinated and cost-effective genetic services through a collaborative approach to providing medical care. The two entities have worked together informally on clinical consultations, provider education and research for more than a decade. This affiliation seeks to formalize and expand the depth and breadth of the relationship. According to MUSC, a partnership with the state’s most advanced and innovative genetic center was an easy choice.
“I live in Greenwood, and I’ve said for years that a lot people don’t understand what an absolute gem this center is,” said Charles Schulze, chairman of the MUSC Board of Trustees. “They’ve helped almost 100,000 families across the state make incredibly important decisions, unmasked difficult-to-diagnose conditions, and have been there for these families every step of the way when faced with good news, or not so good news. We are very pleased to be aligning with this like-minded and advanced care provider to help more MUSC patients benefit from GGC’s expertise.”
While there are any number of reasons people may want to learn more about how their genetics may affect their or their loved ones health, all patients want the same thing: high-quality care at the lowest cost and access to the latest technologies, diagnostics and research related to their genetic stories. In the interest of better serving these needs, the initial goals of the partnership include:
· Increasing access to clinical genetic services for MUSC patients and all South Carolinians.
· Optimizing the patient journey to improve wait times for appointments and consultations.
· Sharing critical resources and expertise where possible to lower costs.
· Pursuing workforce development, research, clinical trials and treatment collaborations.
Nearly every child in South Carolina who was diagnosed with a genetic birth defect, developmental delay or other hereditary disorder has already been referred to GGC, due to the center’s expertise with rare conditions and commitment to new technologies and diagnostics. GGC, a nonprofit institute centered on research, clinical genetic services, diagnostic laboratory testing and educational programs and resources, is focused on compassionate patient care and innovative scientific advancement.
“We know that a timely and accurate diagnosis, paired with early interventions and therapies, allow many of these patients to thrive and live functional and productive lives, often exceeding the expectations tied to their diagnoses,” said Steve Skinner, M.D., GGC director. “Our mission to provide compassionate care and desperately sought-after answers for families is being realized every day in our five statewide clinical offices as well as in our diagnostic and research laboratories. As we look to grow this mission by providing better access to services and more diagnoses through technological advancement, affiliating with the innovative clinicians, scientists and educators at MUSC is not just the logical next business step for us; it’s the right thing to do for our patients and our state.”
David J. Cole, M.D., FACS, MUSC president, echoed the benefits of the affiliation mentioned by Skinner and Schulze, adding, “The genetics field is advancing and changing rapidly due to technology and cutting-edge research. How we treat genetic conditions to optimize and preserve human life in our state is evolving too, and it’s more advantageous and cost-effective to partner rather than go it alone,” he said. “We’re affiliating with the best genetic experts in South Carolina, and they are partnering with the best academic medical faculty and specialty care providers in the state to move health care forward for all. To put it very simply, this partnership will enhance genetic care more efficiently and effectively than anything we could do alone and to date, anything we’ve collectively done together.”
“In this rapidly evolving field of medical genetics, collaborations are essential to ensure that discoveries are efficiently translated to clinical care and all patients receive timely state-of-the-art services,” said Dell Baker, chairman of the GGC Board of Directors. “This affiliation pairs GGC’s immense experience in clinical genetics care and technology advancement with MUSC’s leadership in clinical trials and medical education. We expect this agreement to be not only mutually beneficial to the two organizations but most importantly, to improve the quality of life for the thousands of South Carolinians who are impacted by a genetic diagnosis.”