South Carolina’s DHEC to Dissolve and Restructure as Two Separate Agencies Next Week

Public health reorganization concept.

DHEC Splits Into Two New Agencies Next Week

In a significant shake-up in South Carolina’s public health sector, the Department of Health and Environmental Control, abbreviated as DHEC, is scheduled to dissolve and restructure as two separate entities at the start of the new week.

The Formation of Two New Agencies

Further to a bill passed last year and endorsed by Gov. Henry McMaster, DHEC’s obligations will be allocated between the newly formed Department of Public Health (DPH) and the Department of Environmental Services. This transformative change is set to become operational from July 1.

The current director of DHEC, Dr. Edward Simmer, who will also carry out the role of DPH’s interim director, expressed his optimism and staunch vision regarding this significant restructuring in a news conference hosted on Monday morning. “We’re convinced we can and we will make South Carolina the healthiest state in the nation,” affirmed Dr. Simmer.

Potential for Improved Public Health Services

Simmer recognized South Carolina’s mediocre health status among the country, placing 45th out of the 50 states overall, voicing the desperate need for improvement. He envisages that this dramatic reorganization will help the region leapfrog in terms of its health rank.

The director reassured the public about the continuation of services like birth certificate procurement and immunization requests under the new regime. Further ensuring that the transition to the DPH from DHEC will be seamless, he confirmed that even the phone numbers will remain unchanged. Upcoming visitors of the DHEC website will also be conveniently redirected to the new DPH site, slated for launch next Monday.

For people who use our health departments and are receiving services from our health departments, you will continue to get the same service from the same location and from the same people that you’ve grown to trust and know. That will not change.

Emphasis on Tailored Solutions for the Local Community

Dr. Simmer passionately expressed how the birth of the new agency would provide an opportunity to thoroughly evaluate their operations and services that are catering to the citizens of South Carolina. There are plans to allocate more resources towards outreach and engagement efforts, aiming to meet the specific needs of each local community more efficiently. He emphasized that the local community should take the lead in determining what solutions best serve their requirements.

Hold on Environmental Issues

From July 1, the Department of Environmental Services will oversee services including air and water pollution control, water management, and septic tanks amongst other duties. This new agency aims to secure environmental health in the region effectively.

Future Prospects

The prospect of further consolidation of state agencies is under consideration. A proposed bill to merge six agencies into one did not make it to the governor’s desk this year. However, supporters remain ardent and have pledged to resurrect their push next year.

South Carolina's DHEC to Dissolve and Restructure as Two Separate Agencies Next Week

Author: HERE Irmo

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