The South Carolina RCORP consortium, established in July 2018, is led by South Carolina Office of Rural Health (SCORH). This consortium came together for the purposes of the FY2018 RCORP-Planning grant and was expanded under the RCORP-Implementation grant the following year. Through RCORP funding, SCORH has been able to provide additional education, telehealth resources, and recovery services as well as expand local outreach through community partnerships.
SCORH also has convened key stakeholders across South Carolina to address specific issues in local communities related to behavioral health and substance use disorder/opioid use disorder (SUD/OUD). Through targeted and collaborative activities, SCORH led the formation of a four-county behavioral health coalition aimed at breaking down silos and working together to address the behavioral health needs in rural communities. This coalition developed a pop-up behavioral health clinic model that has received the attention of a large academic institution wanting to support the expansion of this project.
Addressing stigma is the common thread for all RCORP work. One county in South Carolina identified stigma reduction as a priority and has been working through SCORH to develop a countywide anti-stigma campaign addressing a variety of topics and organizations. SCORH has reached out to the University of Rochester Center of Excellence to leverage their support to build this campaign, which is slated to launch in late Summer 2022. SCORH plans to replicate this process in other rural communities across the state.
Through RCORP, SCORH has been able to support the recruitment and retention of behavioral health providers by leveraging the incentives of the National Health Service Corp program.
Previously, drug and alcohol commissions were running into barriers when applying for NHSC site designation. SCORH staff met with these organizations to determine common obstacles in the site designation process. Once these issues were identified, SCORH worked with the NHSC field office and the South Carolina Office of Primary Care to develop mutually beneficial solutions to each issue. This led to a large drug and alcohol commission in a rural community receiving NHSC site designation. This year they were able to hire a nurse practitioner and support other staff by promoting the loan repayment incentive.
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As an applicant for the FY2022 RCORP-Implementation grant, SCORH hopes to continue building on our existing statewide work to strengthen and expand SUD/OUD prevention, treatment, and recovery service delivery in all rural South Carolina communities. A critical component to the recovery work will include ensuring access to transportation, housing, peer recovery, case management, employment assistance, and childcare.