The effort to further integrate the University of South Carolina School of Medicine with Palmetto Health will be led by Dr. Les Hall, the school announced Tuesday.
Hall will be both executive dean of the school of medicine and the CEO of Palmetto Health-USC Medical Group. Hall is leaving one Columbia for another, stepping away from the position as interim dean of the University of Missouri School of Medicine. He is expected to start at USC on Feb. 1.
In a role that’s not only new to Hall but new to the USC school, Hall will oversee the clinical merger of Palmetto Health’s physician practices and the medical school’s clinical departments to create a multispecialty medical group. This not-for-profit organization will encompass more than 1,300 health care workers, including nearly 400 physicians. Those changes are set to begin in 2015.
“Throughout the search process, Palmetto Health and the University of South Carolina shared a common goal – to find a physician leader who will more closely align our organizations through the integration of our health care delivery services,” said Charles D. Beaman Jr., CEO of Palmetto Health.
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Hill will be the seventh permanent dean to lead the School of Medicine since the school opened in 1977. He will replace interim dean Dr. Caughman Taylor.
“Dr. Hall’s broad knowledge of academic medicine and his experience leading a medical school through the ever-changing health care environment will serve the faculty and students well at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine,” said Harris Pastides, president of the University of South Carolina.
Hall, who earned his medical degree from Washington University in St. Louis, has been a member of the University of Missouri faculty since 1999. He was appointed interim dean of the medical school in 2012 after serving four years as chief medical officer of MU Health Care and senior associate dean for clinical affairs at MU School of Medicine. He did his residency in internal medicine at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., and is a hospitalist.
Taylor, longtime chairman of the Department of Pediatrics and Senior Medical Director of Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital, stepped in as interim dean at the USC school in November after Dr. Richard Hoppman stepped down. Around that time, USC and Palmetto Health began working to strengthen their relationship. The two major players in the Midlands have had a teaching partnership for decades, with much of the clinical training of new physicians at the medical school done at Palmetto Health facilities.
The connections have created some confusion, since the USC Specialty Clinics are part of the School of Medicine but are located at Palmetto Health. The physicians in the practices also work with patients in the Palmetto Health hospitals, which include 1,100 beds at Richland, Baptist and Parkridge facilities in the Midlands.
As part of the merger, both sides agreed the new dean would also be named as CEO of the physician practices.
Hall will stick around in Missouri long enough to give advice to his successor, Dr. Patrice Delafontaine, a Tulane University researcher who was selected as dean of the University of Missouri School of Medicine in July and takes over the job Dec. 1.