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Greenville Hospital System

Four competing local hospital systems, led by the Greenville Hospital System plan to create a self-sustaining, independent non-profit corporation (Medverse) to pool hospital-employed interpreters and replace costly entrepreneur contract interpreters. The new corporation will offer language services through trained interpreters and translators to health and social service providers, beginning with the partner hospitals. By the second year of operation, language services already offered will be extended and become a resource to other health and social services agencies beyond the immediate service area.

About the Organization

One of the largest locally operated nonprofit community health systems in the Southeast, Greenville established its first public hospital in 1912 and became the nation’s first health system in 1952. The need for and benefits of a coordinated approach to language services has produced the cooperation of the four competing hospitals that is evident in the Medverse project. The partner hospitals plan on continuing this collaboration until Medverse is both independent and self-sustaining.


Anmed Health, Bon Secours St. Francis Health System, Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System.

About the Service Area

Upstate South Carolina, including Anderson, Greenville, and Spartanburg counties.

Click here to view a map of their service area.

Existing Language Services

The four partner hospitals have varying states of readiness with respect to language services. While Greenville Hospital System has 13 full-time, dedicated interpreters, Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System relies heavily on language lines and contract interpreters. Together, the partner hospitals spend approximately $500,000 on contract interpreter services per year. There are also varying amounts of written material and signage available at the partner hospitals.

The Latino Population in the Service Area

Latinos in 1990: 5,120
Latinos in 2000: 23,196
% Increase: 411%
Total Population: 799,147

Immigration to the Greenville area began during the 1980’s, due to the availability of jobs in construction, manufacturing, meat processing, landscaping, agricultural, and service. These jobs are often low-paying and physically demanding, but immigrants’ legal status is often a barrier to better employment. Most immigrants come from Mexico, South America, Puerto Rico, Central America, and Cuba. Stores and markets are the gathering place for the community, where job notices are posted, and programs and services are announced. The first Latino-owned bank recently opened, demonstrating an increased presence of Latinos in the business community.

More men are found in the region than women, as men come to the area first, seek employment, and send for their families later. Latinos in upstate South Carolina earn less money than other ethnic groups and are more likely to be uninsured. Most Latinos are between the ages of 18 and 39. Two-thirds have a poor or fair ability to speak English and 62% have a poor or fair ability to read English. ESL classes are available, but many Latinos are unable to attend because of work constraints. The number of elementary and secondary students in ESL courses is increasing.

Website: www.ghs.org



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