From The SCTA Leadership

Over the past several years, South Carolina Telehealth Alliance (SCTA) annual reports have followed the great telehealth expansion in response to the pandemic, showcasing our ability to harness increased access, serving healthcare needs at a distance. Entering a frontier of engaging with this new normal and remaining committed to our mission of improving the health of all South Carolinians through telehealth, we now put emphasis on a new challenge, equity.  

The past years have demonstrated the use of telehealth among all populations across the state, regardless of demographics or geography. However, the digital and health equity divide has not gone unnoticed. Whether related to internet access, digital literacy, or other barriers, we must combine our resources with robust disparity data to overcome these challenges and achieve equitable access to care in South Carolina.  

Throughout this report, you will find highlights of telehealth programs in our state that aim to address these equity barriers head-on. From bringing care to students in schools of rural regions to expanding the reach of mental health care for pregnant and postpartum women, the SCTA will continue its support to better the lives of South Carolinians. It is through our focus on equity that we are reminded of our purpose, and align our strategies accordingly. Let us celebrate the great work represented within this report, and continue to move forward with the urgency to overcome equity-related barriers to care.  

SCTA Telehealth Executive Medical Director Dr. James T. McElligott.

James T. McElligott, M.D, MSCR
Telehealth Executive Medical Director
Medical University of South Carolina
SCTA Advisory Council Co-Chair

SCTA Advisory Council Co Chair and Palmetto Care Connections CEO Kathy Schwarting

Kathy Schwarting, MHA
Chief Executive Officer
Palmetto Care Connections
SCTA Advisory Council Co-Chair

A Tribute to Dr. Rick Foster (1954-2023)

Founding member of the SCTA - Dr. Rick Foster. 
Rick Foster, M.D

There is a particular kind of unofficial mentorship that seems to happen naturally when like-minded and like-hearted individuals gather towards a common purpose. Since the founding days of the South Carolina Telehealth Alliance, we have had many champions encourage us on this journey, keeping us aligned with our role to reduce the inequities we see around us. Dr. Rick Foster is the perfect example of one such individual.  

As a founding member of the SCTA and a diligent advocate for health equity in South Carolina, Dr. Foster’s passion for improving the lives of others was evident. Through his various roles over the years as a physician, healthcare administrator, volunteer, advocate, and patient, he used every opportunity to make a lasting impact. Among countless achievements in this health equity space, Dr. Foster was a strong telehealth advocate, preaching on its ability to provide access to care in SC, even as a patient himself. Up until the last days of his life, Dr. Foster remained engaged in these efforts. 

Reflecting on Dr. Rick Foster’s legacy, we ask that you remember these points: 

  • Whenever you are tired and hope that someone else will do the work, carry on like Dr. Foster. 
  • Whenever you are frustrated and feel that the burdens of the healthcare system are too much to allow for change, think like Dr. Foster. 
  • Whenever you see a peer speaking up for a just cause, thank them like Dr. Foster. 
  • Whenever the leadership bell calls for volunteers, step up like Dr. Foster. 
  • Whenever the room needs a smile, smile like Dr. Foster. 

Above all, let us not forget to appreciate each other, just like Dr. Rick Foster. Our time to serve together is limited, and Dr. Foster’s wish, even as he said his last goodbyes was to continue to do so. The South Carolina Telehealth Alliance is forever grateful for such a strong leader and advocate to pave the way to more equitable care. Dr. Foster will be deeply missed by many, but his impact on our lives and our state will never be forgotten.