Publication Date: January 2001
Publisher: Center for Studying Health System Change
Author(s): Glen P. Mays; Sally Trude; Lawrence P. Casalino; Patricia Lichiello
Research Area: Health
In November 2000, a team of researchers visited Greenville, S.C., to study that community’s health system, how it is changing and the effects of those changes on consumers. The Center for Studying Health System Change (HSC), as part of the Community Tracking Study, interviewed more than 50 leaders in the health care market. Greenville is one of 12 communities tracked by HSC every two years through site visits and surveys. Individual community reports are published for each round of site visits. The first two site visits to Greenville, in 1996 and 1998, provided baseline and initial trend information against which changes are tracked. The Greenville market includes Greenville, Spartanburg, Anderson, Cherokee and Pickens counties. Greenville's continued population growth and economic development have kept the area's health care providers busy and profitable. Hospitals have expanded specialty services while abandoning efforts to build primary care capacity. Health maintenance organization (HMO) enrollment has remained low over the past two years, and distinctions between HMOs and preferred provider organizations (PPOs) have diminished. Rising insurance premiums have prompted some small employers to drop coverage for dependents, raising concerns about growth of the uninsured population. Fortunately, access to care for under-served populations has continued to improve through cooperative efforts among safety net providers and other community organizations.