The Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) and the South Carolina Public Employee Benefit Authority (PEBA) have joined forces to improve health care access and reduce health care costs by offering free MUSC Health Virtual Urgent Care to South Carolina state employees and their dependents.

“This new benefit for our state employees and their families brings the doctor straight to your phone, instead of them having to spend the time and money they may not have,” Gov. Henry McMaster said. “This is another innovative tool to keep people healthy and address health issues earlier than they might otherwise. This means a healthier, more prosperous South Carolina.”

With approximately 550,000 PEBA members and their covered dependents now eligible for this benefit, MUSC Health is making sure that state employees have access to South Carolina-based telehealth experts via desktop computers, laptops, tablets or smartphones for more than 40 health issues, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

“We would not be here today without the vision and unwavering support of Governor McMaster and our state legislature to support the growth and expansion of telehealth in South Carolina,” said David J. Cole, M.D., FACS, MUSC president. “Access and cost are major issues in health care today. MUSC is honored to lead health innovations that create real and lasting positive impact for our patients. This virtual-care platform will enable state employees and their families to receive free, almost no wait access for their urgent care needs from anywhere.”

Under the direction of Ed O’Bryan, M.D., MUSC Health Virtual Urgent Care offers an easy-to-use online virtual care service to employees, allowing them to see and communicate with an MUSC provider from the comfort of work, home or on the go, without having to travel to a clinic and regardless of where they may live.

“PEBA covers approximately 10% of the state’s population in the State Health Plan. Part of our core mission is to provide affordable and accessible health care to public employees and their families,” said Peggy Boykin, PEBA executive director. “We appreciate the opportunity to collaborate with MUSC to provide our members additional access to quality and convenient health care through the MUSC Health Virtual Urgent Care and at no cost to members.”

Employees can access care via www.musc.care in the way they like best, including online questionnaires, phone calls, video visits or by texts, and are able to choose their own pharmacies when prescriptions are needed. Wait times to speak with providers average about four minutes and most visits take less than 15 minutes to complete. No appointment is necessary. The online-care platform works on all devices and all browsers except Internet Explorer, and data lines are secure and HIPAA compliant. A hotline for questions and concerns is available 24/7 by dialing 843-261-5940.

“We know how hard it can be to take time away from work to address urgent health issues, and when care is hard to access, takes too long or is too expensive, a patient may wait to address an issue until its much worse or harder to deal with,” said Patrick J. Cawley, M.D., MUSC Health CEO and Vice President of Health Affairs, University. “That’s not good for patients, their families, their employers or the long-term health and wellness of our state. I’m very excited that PEBA has partnered with us on improving access to effective and efficient care, and these state employees will, in turn, benefit from the quality, expertise and convenience that comes from being connected to one of only two telehealth centers of excellence in the nation.”

Contact MUSC's Heather Woolwine at 843-792-7669 or woolwinh@musc.edu.

Contact PEBA's Communication Department at 803-737-6800 or media@peba.sc.gov.