DHEC Board Accepts SHaPE SC Task Force Recommendations

Nov. 10, 2021

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The S.C. Board of Health and Environmental Control (Board) today received the final report and recommendations of the Task Force to Strengthen the Health and Promote the Environment of South Carolina (SHaPE SC). Upon receipt, the Board voted to submit the report to the General Assembly and the Office of the Governor for consideration.

The task force was established by the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) Director Edward Simmer, MD, MPH, DFAPA, with the approval of the agency’s Board earlier this year.

“Today’s presentation of the SHaPE SC report to our Board represents an important step in our ongoing work to make needed improvements to health and environmental services currently being provided by our state,” said DHEC Director Simmer. “As a result of the task force’s work and constructive input from the public, I am confident that we will be better able to ensure that the health of all South Carolinians and the environment in which they live is protected and improved, and that our residents have the best quality of life possible.”

The task force was Chaired by Former State Senator Larry Martin and Facilitated by Bernie Hawkins and included more than 50 members with hundreds of collective years of experience in their relevant fields and who represented a diverse range of perspectives.

As part of its evaluation process, the task force was charged with two primary goals:

  1. Evaluate the state of South Carolina’s current organizational framework and responsibilities related to the provision of health and environmental protection services by state government, and
  2. Make recommendations to the DHEC Board, S.C. Mental Health Commission, General Assembly, and Office of the Governor about how to best maximize state resources to improve the quality of life for all South Carolinians by protecting and promoting the health of the public and the environment.

During the summer and early fall of 2021, SHaPE SC and its three subcommittees — Behavioral Health, Environmental Protection, and Public Health — identified challenges and made consensus recommendations on how the state can best serve its people across a wide spectrum of needs. The recommendations outlined in the report are aimed specifically at improving the delivery of health and environmental protection services provided in South Carolina.

The task force’s report was unanimously approved by S.C. Mental Health Commission on Friday, Nov. 5, 2021.

Following today’s vote by the DHEC Board, DHEC will begin working with its many public and private partners to further evaluate and look at ways to implement quality improvement efforts based on the recommendations received from the task force and within the authority of the agency.

For the recommendations that require legislative action or action from other agencies, DHEC will work with the Governor, the General Assembly, and those agencies as the state determines the best path forward.

Director Simmer’s response to the task force’s final report and recommendations is available, here.

Updates on the agency’s progress will be posted online at shapesouthcarolina.gov.

For a video recording of today’s Board meeting, click here.