New family medicine residency program to expand primary care in Oconee

SENECA, S.C. – Prisma Health–Upstate today broke ground on a new building that will house one of the organization’s newest residency programs, equipping the next generation of physicians to address rural health care needs.

Family Medicine Residency–Oconee will train physicians to meet the primary care needs of patients in rural communities with a population health approach to medicine. This approach emphasizes disease prevention and healthy lifestyle, while also focusing on the management of acute and chronic conditions across all age ranges, from pediatrics to geriatrics.

Patients living in rural areas are at higher risk for many serious conditions, including heart disease and stroke. But these conditions can be managed, or even altogether prevented, by establishing a relationship with a primary care physician who understands a patient’s health history. Additionally, physicians specializing in family medicine are trained to follow patients through all stages of life, and can help navigate any changes in health status before a condition escalates.

“We know that many hospitalizations occur because a patient’s chronic condition has been mismanaged or has worsened,” said Dr. Saria Saccocio, chair of family medicine at Prisma Health–Upstate. “By training these physicians to help patients actively prevent the onset of disease, we’re equipping the next generation of providers to not only treat people when they are sick, but to foster a healthier community as a whole.”

The first class of residents is expected to begin in July 2020.

The 14,500 square foot building is also home to Center for Family Medicine–Oconee, the practice in which residents will train. Center for Family Medicine–Oconee offers comprehensive primary care for children and adults, including gynecologic care and sports medicine.

The new building allows for the expansion of the practice to include 24 exam rooms. As the residency program grows, 18 residents and six family medicine faculty members, 24 physicians in total, are expected to serve the practice by 2022.

“We’re thrilled to see this growth on the Oconee Medical Campus, both in terms of number of new providers we’re able to train and number of patients we’re able to see,” said Hunter Kome, chief operating officer of the Oconee Medical Campus. “The community around us is growing as well, and we’re looking forward to meeting the health care needs of our neighbors both now and well into the future.”

The building is expected to be completed by summer 2020.

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