Spartanburg Wellville: 2017 Year in Review

As we dig into our plans for 2018, it’s worth taking a look back to what each Wellville community achieved in 2017. Here’s the 2017 Year in Review for Spartanburg, SC.

Spartanburg’s Way to Wellville team launched a number of exciting programs in 2017. Their main areas of focus were to improve community engagement, reduce obesity, enhance early childhood development, and assist the under- and uninsured.

The Spartanburg Wellville team is also hard at work building the financial infrastructure for Hello Family, a continuum of nine support programs available at no cost to all families expecting or with children up to five years old. The nine programs cover a wide range of services, from prenatal home visits that foster successful pregnancies, to educational supports for helping new parents deal with the challenges of parenthood, to early learning opportunities that ensure all children enter school ready to learn. For example, one effort supports higher pay for teachers in early learning centers, so that these centers can attract and keep the best teachers. Four of the nine programs are being built on a pay-for-success financing model. The next step is to move potential Hello Family payers and investors from MOUs to binding contracts. These potential payers and funders include the State of South Carolina, the seven city school districts, Spartanburg city government, and Spartanburg Regional Health System.

To support health for the insured, Spartanburg Way to Wellville team is working with a dozen small business owners in the city, who have met regularly for almost two years to identify shared concerns about the health of their employees, the health of their businesses, and the role they play in the health of the community. Two consultants are now guiding the employers in establishing a small business well-being co-op, an idea generated by the employers themselves. The well-being co-op will provide the same kind of health and well-being services normally provided to large employers as part of their health insurance plans. The business owners also see it as an employee recruitment/retention tool and a driver of economic growth for Spartanburg.  Through a joint funding initiative of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Georgia Health Policy Center (GHPC), called “Bridging for Health,” Spartanburg receives financial support, technical assistance and opportunities for peer review for financing innovations to sustain the well-being co-op. At the time of this writing the Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce has agreed to host the co-op, which entails executive sponsorship and the search for a project administrator. The team has secured seed funding of $60,000 to cover start-up costs that include a six-month contract for the project administrator, who will conduct a feasibility study and market analysis as well as oversee development of a co-op prototype.

To support Spartanburg’s uninsured, AccessHealth (a care management organization serving those with inadequate access to medical care) and the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM) have collaborated to launch program that pairs VCOM medical residents with AccessHealth nurse care managers, who are on the front lines of patient care. Nurse case managers help clients navigate the complexities of the health care system and overcome barriers encountered in their efforts to get and stay healthy. For medical students, these real-world experiences that can’t be gained in the classroom are critical for the practice of primary care.

Finally, inspired by their Wellville colleagues in Clatsop County, Oregon, the Spartanburg Wellville team organized and is hosting a series of community events they’re calling “Wellville Talk.” Open to the public, the first two installments of this movie/speaker series were held last year and attracted 75 and 90 attendees, respectively, from all corners of the community; the third installment took place in January. The first three Wellville Talk events presented episodes from the acclaimed documentary Unnatural Causes, about the social determinants of health, and had facilitators on hand who led discussion of the topics covered in the documentaries. Future installments will cover topics such as adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), resilience, and the role employers play in promoting and engaging their workforces in health and well-being. Spartanburg’s Way to Wellville communications committee has the crucial role of promoting these important learning events to the community. After all, community commitment to developing healthier opportunities for all spreads in proportion to the number of people who are aware of the progress being made by the Spartanburg Way to Wellville team and its partners.