USCL to close physical therapy clinic

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By Reece Murphy

University of South Carolina Lancaster has announced it will close its Dr. W.L. McDow Physical Therapy Clinic next month though work to save the university’s other health services programs is ongoing.

USCL’s physical therapy clinic, in operation since 2002, is one of three remaining health services programs at USCL, along with the university’s cardiopulmonary and cancer rehabilitation clinics.

The physical therapy clinic’s closing comes approximately four months after officials approached Springs Memorial Hospital about buying and operating the three programs out of its current on-campus locations in the Carole Ray Dowling Building.

“Since discussions began, Jimmy Abbott, director of the physical therapy clinic ... decided to establish a private physical therapy clinic, which is expected to open in Lancaster sometime in the near future,” the release said. “Consequently, USC Lancaster has decided to close its physical therapy clinic on April 15.

“Patients and providers will receive notification to this effect soon,” it said.

In addition to Abbott and his wife Erica, the Dr. W.L. McDow Physical Therapy Clinic employs one full-time temporary employee and one part-time temporary employee.

Abbott did not respond to a request for comment on his future plans by deadline Friday.

Cardiopulmonary/cancer rehabilitation clinics USCL has operated its cardiopulmonary rehabilitation clinic since 1987 and its cancer rehabilitation clinic since 2012.

The parallel programs share personnel at the John Morrison White Clinic.

The release said the university’s negotiations with the hospital in regards to the cardiopulmonary program are ongoing.

University officials declined to discuss details of the talks so as not to jeopardize negotiations.

More information will  be released when negotiations are complete and an agreement is reached.

Officials said in the release that SMH expressed no interest in taking over the cancer rehabilitation clinic and as a result the university is exploring another option.

Officials declined to elaborate on the option at this time.

USCL’s physical therapy clinic is the second of the university’s health services programs to close in less than a year.

The university closed its diabetes education clinic in, July citing declining insurance reimbursements and increasing delivery costs.

USCL Dean Dr. Walt Collins cited the same factors as creating a precarious financial situation for all of the university’s health services programs, despite their much-needed service to the community.

He said the university’s original hope was to keep the clinics open and serving the community through transfer to Springs Memorial Hospital. 

Collins said the university will continue working toward that goal with the cardiopulmonary clinic.

“Our desire throughout this process has been that the capacity for care remains intact and that patients continue to receive the best practices care to which they have become accustomed,” Collins said in the release. “We continue to work hard to preserve as much of these resources as possible.”


Contact reporter Reece Murphy at (803) 283-1151