MUSC Trustees to Hear Status of Health System Recovery, Acknowledge 660 Graduates

Staff Report From Charleston CEO

Monday, May 11th, 2020

On Friday, May 15, the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) and Medical University Hospital Authority (MUHA) Board of Trustees will hold a one-day combined committee/board meeting beginning at 9:00 a.m. In keeping with efforts to deter the transmission of the COVID-19 virus, this meeting will be held via conference call, not in person. 

“As our state’s economy begins to reopen, we look forward to hearing more about our current progress with the recovery plan established by the MUSC leadership team,” said Charles W. Schulze, CPA, chairman of the MUSC/MUHA Board of Trustees. Like hospitals across the nation, MUSC Health significantly slowed its operations in accordance with government urging to prepare for a potential influx of COVID-19 patients. Having sustained a significant ongoing loss of revenue, the health system must now ramp up to regain its financial footing.

“We recognize the need to act deliberately and prudently, putting the safety of MUSC employees and patients first and foremost,” said MUSC President David J. Cole, M.D. FACS. “Throughout the ongoing challenges of this pandemic, our teams have proved their ability to use accurate data, scientific insight and breakthrough clinical care to meet the health care needs of our statewide community. Using a phased approach that will continue to include appropriate social distancing along with diagnostic and antibody testing, we will gradually resume full operation of our health system,” Cole added.

Due to the requirements of social distancing during the COVID-19 era, for the first time since the Civil War MUSC was forced to cancel its spring commencement exercises. To offer the 660 graduating students an opportunity to celebrate their many achievements, university and health system leaders will participate in a diploma drive-thru pick up on Saturday, May 16, from 8:30 a.m. until 1 p.m. Graduates can drive thru the parking area at the MUSC Harper Student Center, 45 Courtenay Drive, to collect their actual diplomas, which are usually mailed after commencement.

Each of the six colleges has a designated time to ride through, safely collect their diplomas and receive congratulatory cheers, waves and applause from college deans, staff and administrators. The number of graduates from each of the colleges are: Dental Medicine – 80, Graduate Studies – 35, Health Professions – 162, Medicine – 172, Nursing – 128 and Pharmacy– 83.

“We are so proud of our students and their outstanding accomplishments,” said Lisa K. Saladin, PT, Ph.D., executive vice president for Academic Affairs and Provost. “Our graduates were tested by these sudden and unprecedented circumstances and they did not falter. They are well prepared to face a health care environment that presents more adversity than we have seen in decades or to join the scientists committed to discovering solutions to address health care crises such as COVID-19. We wish we could give them all the graduation festivities that they have earned and deserve; however, we hope the few moments of celebration we can deliver in the diploma drive-thru will be both memorable and special.”

Members of the media and the public who wish to hear the MUSC board call, may connect via this number: (843) 876-8002, participant code 992577. Please remember that although the public is welcome to listen to the meeting, no one is authorized to speak or participate unless recognized by the board chair. Although the Colcock Hall boardroom, located at 19 Bee Street in Charleston, will be open during this meeting, only limited seating will be available in order to encourage social distancing and prevent potential disease transmission.