South Carolina Department of Mental Health

Director's Column
John H. Magill, State Director

2015 Developments and Achievements

The South Carolina Department of Mental Health (DMH) strives to improve and expand its services to the citizens of our state. With your support, we continue to make great strides. This document is the second yearly update of select examples of Agency milestones, achievements, and services.

  • Thanks to the support of the Governor and the General Assembly, DMH is on firmer financial footing than in previous years. As a result, the Agency has been increasing access to outpatient, community-based mental health services. In fiscal year 2012, DMH opened 23,839 new cases; in fiscal year 2015, DMH opened 27,525 new cases.

  • As of July 10, 2015, DMH's innovative Telepsychiatry program had provided 23,548 psychiatric consultations in emergency departments across South Carolina. The Program was developed to meet the critical shortage of psychiatrists in South Carolina's underserved areas, and assist hospital emergency rooms by providing appropriate treatment to persons in a behavioral crisis, using real-time, state-of-the-art video-and-voice technology that connects DMH psychiatrists to hospital emergency departments throughout the state.

    • In February, The Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the John F. Kennedy School of Government of Harvard University recognized DMH's Telepsychiatry Consultation Program as part of its 2015 Bright Ideas program, which honors government programs at the forefront of innovative action.

    • Built on the success of Telepsychiatry services to emergency departments, DMH has equipped its hospitals, mental health centers, and clinics to provide psychiatric treatment services to its patients via Telepsychiatry. Currently, DMH is providing approximately 1,200 psychiatric services per month to DMH patients via Telepsychiatry. The use of this technology enables DMH to more efficiently utilize the limited number of psychiatrists available to treat the most patients.

    • A Gero-psychiatrist based in Columbia provided psychiatric services for Patrick B. Harris Hospital during a critical psychiatrist shortage period, resulting in the ability to maintain psychiatric bed capacity (44 beds) for the Upstate.

    • In January 2015, Columbia-based DMH Neurology Service began providing teleneurology consultations to its Patrick B. Harris Hospital in Anderson. The service, established as an addition to previously available neurological services, increases accessibility of such consultations for clients in this Upstate facility, while reducing travel time and expense.

  • DMH school-based services are now available in 480 schools across South Carolina. The Agency is in the process of adding 20 clinicians to further expand this service, and expects to have service available in more than 500 South Carolina schools by 2016.

  • DMH's Patrick B. Harris Psychiatric Hospital (HPH, Harris) recently partnered with AnMed Health Medical Center (AnMed) to have private practice psychiatrists in Anderson provide psychiatric coverage for acute patients at HPH. The coverage plan includes regional hospital partners AnMed, Oconee Memorial, Cannon Memorial, Baptist-Easley, and Spartanburg Regional Hospital. Since inception, this unique public-private partnership has provided care for 475 patients.

  • E. Roy Stone Veterans Pavilion (Stone), one of DMH's Veterans Nursing Homes, remains ranked as one of the top nursing care facilities in South Carolina and the nation by both the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the US News and World Report, maintaining a 5-star rating - the highest obtainable. Stone, which serves veterans from across the state of South Carolina, is accredited by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the US Department of Veterans Affairs, the Joint Commission, and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.

  • DMH received the first installment of the sale price for the Bull Street Property from a parcel sale in October, 2014. Additional parcel sales are expected later this year.

  • Charleston-Dorchester Mental Health Center will hold its 4th Annual Lowcountry Mental Health Conference July 30-31. The 2015 event will offer 10 world class mental health experts and advocates as speakers; more than 600 attendees from across the country are expected to attend.

  • The Department's Charleston Dorchester Mental Health Center responded immediately to the murders at the Emanuel A.M.E. Church, Wednesday, June 17, and has provided support to families of the victims. The Center has also assisted first responders in need of support and manned a community phone bank to assist callers in distress.

  • Berkeley Community Mental Health Center has added a Mobile Team to its Access/Admission/Emergency Services Program. A team of two mental health professionals will respond to psychiatric emergencies in the community with local law enforcement officers, capitalizing on any/all locations to intervene and engage individuals in crisis to provide and link them with appropriate community services. The Mobile Team, which operates during business hours to respond to situations identified by law enforcement, families, community partners and Center clinicians, is supported by the Berkeley County Probate Judge, DMH, and the numerous law enforcement agencies in the County. Berkeley CMHC joins DMH's Charleston-Dorchester MHC in providing Mobile Crisis support.

    • DMH is currently working with the Department of Health and Human Services to increase community crisis response and intervention services. Like the Mobile Team, the use of such services will expand DMH's ability to treat citizens in the community when and where they are in a behavioral health crisis.

  • In December 2014, Charleston Dorchester MHC received the Connect 4 Mental Health Community Innovation Award from The National Council for Behavioral Health for its successful Mobile Crisis response program. The award recognizes organizations across the US that innovate and collaborate to address serious mental illness in their communities.

The South Carolina Department of Mental Health's mission is to support the recovery of people with mental illnesses, giving priority to adults with serious and persistent mental illness and to children and adolescents with serious emotional disturbances.

  • Each of DMH's 17 community mental health centers is accredited by CARF International, an independent, nonprofit accreditor of human service providers. CARF credentials more than 6,500 providers in over 22,000 locations, and its accredited providers serve more than 8 Million people of all ages each year. In addition, Morris Village Treatment Center, the Agency's inpatient, drug and alcohol hospital, is also accredited by CARF.

  • Each of DMH's three psychiatric hospitals is accredited by the Joint Commission, which aims to improve healthcare by evaluating healthcare providers and inspiring them to excel in the provision of safe, effective care of the highest quality and value.

  • Each of DMH's four nursing homes is licensed by DHEC and certified by CMS. Three of the four nursing homes (516 beds) serve veterans exclusively and are certified by the Department of Veterans Affairs. The Tucker Nursing Care Facilities (Roddey - General Nursing Home and Stone - Veterans Nursing Home) are nationally accredited by the Joint Commission (TJC) and represent two of 10 Nursing homes in South Carolina with this distinction.
    *There are 195 nursing homes in the State of South Carolina.

  • DMH has more than 700 portals by which citizens can access mental health services, including:

    • The DMH service system, a network of 17 outpatient community mental health centers, 43 clinics, four psychiatric hospitals, one community nursing care center, and three veterans' nursing homes;

    • More than 20 specialized clinical service sites (DMH offices that provide some type of clinical care, but do not offer a full array of services found in a center or clinic);

    • Twenty South Carolina hospitals with Telepsychiatry services;

    • More than 140 community sites (non-DMH entities or businesses where DMH staff regularly and routinely provide clinical services), and

    • 480 school-based service program sites.

We will continue to highlight select examples of DMH's system, program, and achievements in future yearly updates.