July 25, 2024

On June 24, 2024 Dr. Edward Simmer, then current director of SCDHEC announced that the agency with be split into two different entities. The two agencies will be the Department of Public Health (DPH) and the Department of Public Health. The split became official and began separate operations Monday, July 1, 2024. The change comes from a bill signed into law last year that by Governor McMaster. Dr. Simmer, who was the Director of SCDHEC and currently the interim director of the newly formed SCDPH, is convinced that DPH can make South Carolina into the healthiest state in the nation. He further commented that South Carolina is 45th out of the 50 states in terms of overall health. Regarding services that DPH will provide, they will remain similar to what DHEC already provided such as obtaining birth certificates and requesting immunizations. The processes will remain fundamentally the same. If one goes to the DHEC website they will automatically be forwarded to the DPH website. Phone numbers for the agency will remain the same. Concerning services received Simmer comments “for people who use our health departments and are receiving services from our health departments, you will continue to get the same service in the same location and from the same people that you’ve grown to trust and know that will not change.” Simmer further elaborates that the newly named DPH will now be able to focus on serving individual communities with the understanding that a rural area’s needs will be different than those in the City of Charleston and tailor solutions to each of those regions. The other agency formed from the restructuring with be the Department of Environmental Service (DES) also to officially to launch July 1, 2024. According to a media advisory from DES that newly formed agency has “specific roles and responsibilities for protecting and preserving the environment. The agency will be committed to achieving these goals for all South Carolinians through science, service, and sustainability. The agency will continue to ensure South Carolinians have clean air, land, water, and coastal resources today and for generations to come.” Specifically, the South Carolina Department of Natural Resource’s hydrology and aquatic nuisance species programs with become a part of the newly created SCDES. DHEC’s retail food program and milk and dairy lab will move to the South Carolina Department of Agriculture. SCDES will be a part of the Governor’s cabinet. The restructuring to the new SCDES should not result in any gaps in services to the people of South Carolina according to scdhec.gov.


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