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.
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
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
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.
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