Johns Island

Best Tree Service in Johns Island

Ask Us Anything!

843-300-9476

Quick Quote

The Planet Green Tree Service Difference

At Planet Green Tree Service, we are firm believers that trees make the world a better place. They provide us with verdant beauty, cool shade, and emergency shelter. They raise our home values, add personality to our neighborhoods, and provide us with clean air to breathe. When your home or business has well-maintained, healthy trees, everyone benefits. That's why we are so passionate about providing our customers with dependable tree services in the Lowcountry.

We believe that honest prices, state-of-the-art equipment, friendly arborists, and good old-fashioned hard work are what set us apart from our competition. With more than 33 years of service in South Carolina, you can rest easy knowing every member of the Planet Green team is committed to the following:

  • Conduct themselves in a professional manner
  • Provide you with exemplary tree care services
  • Arrive at your home or business on time and ready to work
  • Provide you with affordable service rates
  • Meet or exceed our industry standards
  • Utilize the utmost safety when removing or maintaining your trees or shrubs
  • Have full insurance to protect themselves and your home

Our customers mean a lot to us, which is why we strive to provide them the best, most helpful customer service in our industry. When you hire our company to perform a tree service in cityname, know that we take this responsibility seriously and will always treat your home like we would treat our own. At Planet Green Tree Service, you won't ever have to worry about sneaky hidden fees or outrageous pricing. We believe every homeowner and business owner should have access to affordable tree services, which is why we set our rates at reasonable levels. Our job is to protect your home, your trees, and also your wallet!

Whether your home has overgrown trees that need trimming or you have an unsightly stump that needs grinding, our team of tree experts is here to help. Curious what kind of tree care work we provide to homeowners in South Carolina?

Planet Green specializes in the following areas:

Tree Trimming in Johns Island

Have you noticed your favorite tree growing in a strange shape? Are your trees or shrubs so overgrown that it's making your property and home look unkempt? Are the trees near your home weighed down by dangerous dead branches? If you answered yes to any of the above questions, it might be time to speak with a Planet Green Tree Service professional to find a solution.

Like anything that lives, trees respond to their environment. When trees are not properly maintained, they can cause a whole host of problems for the homeowner. Overgrowth doesn't just look bad - it can be a potential safety hazard and liability for your home. To prevent this from happening, it's crucial that your trees are trimmed and pruned regularly. Trimming your trees and shrubs gives your home a tidy, appealing look and facilitates healthy plant and tree growth.

Because every tree and shrub is different, you must approach tree trimming with a plan. Before you start hacking at your trees with a machete, be sure to contact Planet Green Tree Service. Our team of expert arborists will come to your home and determine the best path to take for your tree trimming needs. We always take into account variables like the strengths, weaknesses, and species of your trees.

 Large Tree Removal Johns Island, SC

Benefits of Tree Trimming in Johns Island

For some folks, tree trimming seems like a minor detail in the grand scheme of homeownership. It can be a tedious job, but keeping your trees trimmed and well-maintained is more important than you might think. Below are just a few of the many benefits of keeping your trees and shrubs trimmed:

Tree Trimming in Johns Island

Tree Health

Part of the Planet Green pruning and trimming process includes the removal of damaged, broken, dead, and diseased branches. When ignored, these dead or dying branches can cause harmful fungi to wreak havoc on the trees around your home or business. Removing these weakened branches helps prevent fungi and keeps your trees healthy. In addition, tree trimming also lets more sunlight and air circulation reach your trees, boosting overall health.

Safety

Safety

As longtime residents of South Carolina, we know how dangerous hurricanes and heavy storms can be. Strong winds from these natural occurrences can cause branches to fall or even be carried away with significant force. This is concerning for many homeowners, especially those who have trees lining their driveways, recreational areas, and walking paths. When you trust Planet Green with your trimming needs, you are actually doing your part to "storm proof" your home from hazardous tree-related accidents. If you have low-hanging branches close to your roof or business, pruning these trees can provide more safety and overhead clearance. That way, don't have an anxiety attack every time a storm rolls through your neighborhood.

Aesthetics

Aesthetics

Nobody likes the look of an overgrown, disheveled tree. Tree trimming improves the general appearance of your tree and makes your whole yard and home look better. Tree trimming also prevents your trees from growing weak branches and crotches and helps stop branches from intertwining with one another.

Developmental Tree Trimming

Developmental Tree Trimming

Pruning younger trees is key to protecting them as they age. This vital tree service in Johns Island keeps young trees aesthetically appealing and promotes proper structural integrity and optimal branch structure. In addition, as your home's landscape matures, taking the time to trim young trees reduces the chance of expensive problems like tree failure.

 Local Tree Service Johns Island, SC

Types of Tree Trimming

Not all tree trimming services from Planet Green Tree Service are the same. Our experts specialize in a number of different tree trimming services to ensure you are getting the right kind of trim for the appropriate situation. Because even the smallest mistake can permanently affect your tree's health, we approach every tree trimming job with surgeon-like precision. That way, you know your trees are in capable, responsible hands.

Crown Reduction

Crown Reduction

When your trees age without the proper kind of care, they can develop too many branches on their interior. Trees like this give great shade, but too much is not a good sign. That's where crown reduction trimming comes in. By reducing the density of your tree's crown, our tree care experts improve its growth rate and health. Crown density reduction also promotes a longer lifespan and a more beautiful appearance.

Deadwooding

Deadwooding

As the name implies, deadwooding involves the trimming of dead wood from your trees. Often required in urban and suburban areas, deadwooding a tree makes it look more attractive and livelier, while maintaining the health of your tree's trunk by removing rotted branches. This process also makes it safer for kids and other people who walk underneath or near your tree that may be harmed by rotting branches that fall. Other tree trimming services that Planet Green offers include: hazardous tree assessments, shrub trimming, pruning, cabling, bracing, and corrective trimming.

Stump Removal in Johns Island

For most property owners, removing a tree can seem like a major project. While that notion certainly isn't wrong, tree removal is more straightforward and often easier than trying to remove an unsightly stump from your yard. Have you ever wondered why you see so many yards with stumps dotted around the land? It's because they're very difficult to remove. That is why Planet Green Tree Service has been offering stump removal services in South Carolina for more than 33 years. Our skilled stump removal experts bring a wealth of knowledge and cutting-edge tools to every stump removal project they tackle.

The fact of the matter is this: trying to remove a stump on your own is an incredible undertaking. Going the "DIY" route can take weeks to complete, even if you spend an hour or two every day. There's also the issue of operating heavy machinery (which costs time and money to rent) and even light fires to expedite the process, which is dangerous. For these reasons alone, we always recommend that you bring in a professional to remove your tree stump safely and effectively.

 Tree Service Johns Island, SC

Benefits of Stump Removal in Johns Island

Better Looking Yard

Better Looking Yard

If you are a homeowner that loves sculpted hedges, beautiful landscaping, and a tidy law, removing old tree stumps will feel like a huge weight off of your chest. Stump removal not only gives your home more curb appeal, it can actually raise the value of your home. This is particularly pertinent if you are thinking about listing your home for sale in the near future.

More Space

More Space

If your yard is small, even one stump can reduce the amount of space you have in your yard. If you spend a lot of time playing sports or just enjoying your yard space, stump removal is a huge help. After all, nobody wants to toss a football around if there are a bunch of old stumps that you must avoid. Stumps also take up considerable space below ground, with their complicated root systems. Stump removal will give you and your family more room to plant flowers, grow vegetables, install a water feature, and much more.

Eliminate Unwanted Growth

Eliminate Unwanted Growth

When you leave a tree stump in your yard, you could be setting yourself up for unwanted tree growth. This kind of new growth often results in clusters of small trees popping up around the base of the stump. This problem isn't just unsightly; it can be harmful to any plants near the stump because the new trees will suck up all the water and nutrients out of your soil.

Pest Prevention

Pest Prevention

Tree stumps are notorious for harboring all sorts of pests that can damage your hard and cause expensive problems in your home. We're talking wood borers, ants, termites, and beetles. If you want to do away with these pests and protect your home, the best course of action is to contact Planet Green Tree Service for a quote on our professional tree removal services.

 Tree Removal Johns Island, SC

Reduce Headaches

Sure, you could take the time to do your research on how to remove a stump. You could go to Home Depot, rent a high-powered stump grinder, and risk your health trying to operate it without training. You could spend every winking moment of your free time trying to grind the stump down so you can remove it from your yard. But why go through all that trouble when a trustworthy, experienced stump removal company like Planet Green Tree Service is only a phone call away?

Our team of stump removal professionals uses state-of-the-art tools designed to keep your property damage-free during the removal process. We will turn your yard into a beautiful blank slate, so you can focus on enjoying your stump-free while we haul away all the debris.

 Tree Pruning Johns Island, SC

Your Premier Tree Service Company in South Carolina

With 33 years of experience, it's no wonder why so many South Carolina locals choose Planet Green Tree Service for tree trimming and stump removal in their city. Clients love us because we believe in exceeding your expectations, no matter how large or small a job is.

  • Conduct themselves in a professional manner
  • Provide you with exemplary tree care services
  • Arrive at your home or business on time and ready to work
  • Provide you with affordable service rates

Contact our office to learn more about our tree services in South Carolina or to schedule your free quote today!

Latest News in Johns Island, SC

Oak trees in the crosshairs of development on Johns Island

Nearly 200 historic trees on Johns Island were on the chopping block at a Charleston Board of Zoning Appeals meeting Dec. 7, and the debate surrounding their removal is stirring up questions about preserving the island’s natural habitat while planning for booming population growth at the city’s outer edges.Developers requested permission to cut down 193 “grand” trees across two developments in cases heard before the board, which reviews projects that need special exceptions to city ordinances.The grand c...

Nearly 200 historic trees on Johns Island were on the chopping block at a Charleston Board of Zoning Appeals meeting Dec. 7, and the debate surrounding their removal is stirring up questions about preserving the island’s natural habitat while planning for booming population growth at the city’s outer edges.

Developers requested permission to cut down 193 “grand” trees across two developments in cases heard before the board, which reviews projects that need special exceptions to city ordinances.

The grand classification means the trees are more than 24 inches in diameter, likely indicating that they are well over 100 years old. As a result, they are protected by city ordinance. Not only are the trees considered an aesthetic trademark of the once entirely rural island but they are also a key component of the area’s ecosystem and a natural flood prevention tool.

“The trees help us for resilience, absorbing water, supplying shade and wildlife habitat,” John Zlogar, chair of the community group Johns Island Task Force, told The Post and Courier. He is one of nearly 30 residents who submitted comments to the zoning board in favor of saving as many trees as possible amid development.

Final decisions

The board ultimately approved both tree removal plans with some caveats.

Developers of the first project, a 71-home planned community near Fenwick Hall Plantation, requested permission to cut down 21 trees. The zoning appeals board reduced that to 15. They also stipulated that the developers of the property must hire an arborist to create a protection plan for the remaining trees and plant 151 new native trees with at least a 2½-inch diameter.

The developers argued that after having an arborist evaluate the trees on the property, the ones slated for removal were already in poor health.

“We designed the proposed concept plan which ultimately preserves 36 grand trees and impacts grand trees only with a health grade ‘D’ or lower,” wrote Jenna Nelson in a letter to the zoning board. Nelson leads the development’s engineering team, Bowman Consulting Group.

If those trees fell naturally, however, they would have returned organic matter to the ecosystem, promoting other forms of plant life that provide food for animals and insects, said Philip Dustan, an ecology professor at the College of Charleston.

“When (the tree) falls down. it slowly rots and releases its nutrients,” he said.

Tree removals at the second project on Johns Island, called Wooddale, were also approved by the board. Instead of removing 172 trees as originally requested, the developers revised the plan to remove 124. They must also develop a protection plan for the remaining trees and plant about 500 native 2½-inch or wider trees. They also have plans to establish a conservation easement along the southern portion of the property, meaning it will be protected from development moving forward.

“Multiple layout alternatives have been explored by following the natural contours of the site by placing most of the density in the highest area to minimize the cut and fill needed as well as minimize the tree and environmental impacts,” wrote Jason Hutchinson, an engineer for the development with firm Thomas & Hutton.

The Wooddale project has been in the works since 2013 because of a lawsuit that hinged on disagreements between the city and the developer about how to zone the development. As proposed, it includes single-family homes, offices, an assisted-living facility and other amenities, according to site plans. Because it is south of the island’s urban growth boundary, it is subject to stricter limitations than the northern tip of the island. The boundary was established decades ago as a way to preserve the island’s rural origins.

The Woodale tract sits not too far away from Charleston Executive Airport where conservationists secured a win earlier this year. The Charleston County Aviation Authority signed off on a deal to place just under 100 acres in a legally binding conservation easement. An agreement with Lowcountry Land Trust will keep 94 acres from ever being developed there.

As growth continues within the boundary’s limits, some residents are trying to advocate for developments with as little ecological impact as possible on the southern side of the boundary line.

Dustan, who lives near Wooddale, is not pleased with the upcoming development. The most ecologically sensitive solution, he said, would be to build elevated homes on pilings and keep all the existing trees intact.

By removing the native trees, the surrounding area is robbed of parts of a centuries-old root network, which can affect the health of surrounding trees.

“A lot of the trees that you see are actually related to each other,” he said.

Although the development follows the city’s storm water standards, Dustan is concerned that runoff created by the new development will overflow nearby Burden Creek during major ran events.

After hurricane Ian came through in September, water was about a foot below breaching the banks of the creek, he said.

“The curious thing is ... if we keep building like this, we might start flooding the new communities, too,” he said.

Procedural changes

Johns Island is seeing a massive influx of growth in ways that is not possible in more developed areas of the city. As a result, the island is seeing a patchwork of new developments separated by stretches of farmland and forests. Longtime residents want to see the city use modern planning tools to lessen the impact of new development on the environment and flooding.

“The area inside the urban growth boundary is only 20 percent of the island, let’s contain the growth in that 20 percent to make sure it’s smart,” Zlogar said.

A citywide water plan, which is currently in the works, will look at the city as a whole to see what types of flood mitigation are needed most and where they would have the most impact. Instead of tackling flood concerns on a project-by-project basis, the city is looking at ways to stop development that increases flooding and identify which flood projects need to be prioritized first.

Instead of trying to drain water as quickly as possible, the city’s main strategy is shifting toward effectively storing floodwater, such as in detention basins, and letting it slowly disperse. One advantage of this approach is that it helps prevent a sinking effect called subsidence. Shifting ground levels due to the movement of groundwater threaten buildings’ foundations and worsen flood risk. Forrest are a natural asset in this type of flood prevention, Dustan said.

“The best way to solve a problem is preventing it from happening in the first place,” he said.

The water plan will be worked into a new citywide zoning ordinance that Charleston officials are also currently drafting.

In the new version, officials want the zoning maps — the guide for what can get built where — to be based on elevation. High ground near major roadways will be fair game for high-density development, in most cases. Low-lying areas and wetlands will be restricted to little or no use at all. The ground rules for development will vary in each area of town. It’s an opportunity to set the framework for how Johns Island can grow in a sustainable way.

As these changes come down the pipeline, Johns Island residents will also have a new advocate in City Hall.

From 2010 to 2020, census data shows the island’s population within Charleston city limits doubled from nearly 5,300 residents to almost 12,000. As a result, in recently approved City Council redistricting maps, Johns Island will get its own council member for the first time in 2024.

How the city approaches tree preservation will need to be tailored to Johns Island, too, Zlogar said. The existing tree ordinance was designed with more developed areas of the city, such as the peninsula, in mind. There, developers are typically requesting to remove one or two trees in an already built-out neighborhood. But on Johns Island, developers are purchasing lots with upwards of 100 acres of land.

“We have a tree ordinance but to my knowledge there is no forest ordinance and that is the problem,” Zlogar said.

Every tree removed affects the overall ecosystem of a forest. And replanting smaller trees, even of the same variety, doesn’t have the same ecological benefit.

“It’s the equivalent of tearing down an apartment building and putting up a woodshed,” he said.

The other concern from Dustan and other community members is that the tree ordinance does not take a holistic view of the island. Saving contiguous swaths of forest is more effective strategy than saving groups of trees on a lot-by-lot basis. Having interrupted clusters of forest reduces storm water absorption and splits up wildlife habitats as well.

“We’re not seeing the forest for the trees,” Dustan said.

Reach Emma Whalen at 843-708-5837. Follow her on Twitter @_emma_whalen.

Price tag for extending I-526 across Johns Island reduced slightly, to $2.2B

Charleston County has received a reduced cost estimate for the long-planned and controversial Mark Clark Extension project, but it’s a price tag that would still leave the county responsible for paying $1.78 billion.That’s about five times the county’s yearly general fund budget.Several council members who support finishing the Interstate 526 loop said the most likely path toward paying for it would be another half-percent sale tax increase that would require local voter approval.“We just have to ...

Charleston County has received a reduced cost estimate for the long-planned and controversial Mark Clark Extension project, but it’s a price tag that would still leave the county responsible for paying $1.78 billion.

That’s about five times the county’s yearly general fund budget.

Several council members who support finishing the Interstate 526 loop said the most likely path toward paying for it would be another half-percent sale tax increase that would require local voter approval.

“We just have to be willing to move forward and do it,” Councilwoman Jenny Honeycutt said. “Every day I get more and more calls.”

The project would create a 9½-mile, four-lane road from the current end of I-526 in West Ashley, to Johns Island and then onto James Island with a connection to the end of the James Island connector at Folly Road.

Most of the road would be elevated, with a proposed speed limit between 35 and 45 mph.

The marginally better cost estimate was delivered by S.C. Department of Transportation Secretary Christy Hall in a letter to the county. The previous price tag was estimated at $2.35 billion, while the new estimate that followed a consultant’s study came in at $2.2 billion.

“I think initially there was some thought that maybe we have overinflated the numbers,” Hall said.

When the higher cost estimate came out in May, Bradly Taggart, co-founder of Charlestonians for I-526, told County Council members that a temporary spike in commodity prices was likely to blame. He predicted that “we could be looking at a project that costs half as much in six months’ time as the market rebalances.”

Instead, the estimate dropped by less than 7 percent.

Hall said the estimated $150 million reduction came mainly from reducing the cost of potential “risk elements” — surprises during construction, such as unplanned conflicts with utilities or unexpected poor soil conditions — and partly from reducing expected cost inflation.

“This estimate has built into it every possible contingency for things that could go wrong,” said Honeycutt, who said she thinks the actual cost will be lower.

Hall asked the county to develop “a financial plan that is rational and realistic” for the entire road project, which would be required in order to get final approval for an environmental review from the federal government. She also asked the county to approve $150 million in preliminary work, with the county paying half that cost, to keep the plan moving forward.

Honeycutt and Council Chairman Teddie Pryor both said they favor a new half-percent sales tax referendum as the best way to pay the cost. County voters previously approved two such sales tax increases, mostly to fund road projects.

Pryor said if there were another referendum, it could be entirely dedicated to funding the Mark Clark Extension. The most recent sales tax increase, following a 2016 referendum, was expected to raise $1.89 billion for specified road projects in the county, over 25 years.

The county received the new cost estimate for the Mark Clark Extension on Dec. 2, a spokesperson said, and has not had time to discuss it. The earlier higher estimate was delivered to the county in May.

“I don’t know whether to laugh or to cry,” Councilman Henry Darby said at the time. “I would never, ever go with this.”

The Mark Clark Extension has lots of support, including the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce, the city of Charleston and the Charleston Trident Association of Realtors, but also lots of opposition. The Coastal Conservation League said in May that the multibillion-dollar price tag “is a perfect opportunity for Charleston County Council to walk away from this project.”

A community organization called Nix 526 has also been fighting the extension, and Charleston Waterkeeper and the S.C. Wildlife Federation have raised objections.

Supporters say it’s necessary for traffic relief and possible hurricane evacuations, while opponents say it will increase development on Johns Island and harm the environment while providing little traffic relief at great cost.

New roads tend to provide traffic relief for a time but also spur development. The existing portion of I-526 from North Charleston to Mount Pleasant initially provided traffic relief and a new hurricane evacuation option, but it also accelerated development in northern Mount Pleasant and on Daniel Island. The state is currently planning to spend about $4 billion to widen that part of the interstate.

Here are some numbers to put $1.78 billion in context:

The S.C. Department of Transportation assumes that if the Mark Clark Extension project goes forward, litigation could delay it by two or three years.

Pryor blamed opponents for the rising costs of the project, and said it could have been built for far less years or decades ago. In 2015, the cost estimate was $725 million.

Unlike the even-more-expensive plans to widen and improve the existing sections of I-526 — for about $7 billion — the state in 2019 limited its contribution to the Mark Clark Extension project to $420 million and the county agreed to finance the rest.

“Our interstate program is focused on upgrading our existing interstates,” said Hall, and those plans are focused on moving freight and aiding commerce. The state is pursuing plans to widen all or portions of interstates 526, 26 and 95, and to redesign multiple interchanges.

County Council is expected to discuss options for the Mark Clark Extension at a future meeting. Hall did not put a deadline on her request for action.

St. James Episcopal Church returns back to Episcopalian roots after 10 years

JAMES ISLAND, S.C. (WCIV) — In August, the South Carolina Supreme Court ruled eight Anglican Churches have to return back to the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina.Back in 2012, 29 parishes left the Episcopal Church due to acceptance of same sex marriage. However, the South Carolina Supreme Court ruled some of those c...

JAMES ISLAND, S.C. (WCIV) — In August, the South Carolina Supreme Court ruled eight Anglican Churches have to return back to the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina.

Back in 2012, 29 parishes left the Episcopal Church due to acceptance of same sex marriage. However, the South Carolina Supreme Court ruled some of those churches did not have proper ownership based on State Trust Law.

One of those churches is Saint James Episcopal Church on James Island. On Sunday, the church held its first Episcopalian service in a decade.

“There was a schism in the Episcopal church in 2012 and at that point this church affiliated itself with the Anglican Church and the South Carolina Supreme Court recently decided that legally this church still belonged to the episcopal church," said Rev. Taylor Smith the newly installed Priest in Charge for Saint James Episcopal Church.

“This church has been affiliated with what would be the Episcopal church for 300 years, so it was gone for 10 years, but it’s now coming home," Smith continued.

This also opened the door to new beginnings.

“I don’t know the people who are going to be here, it’s going to be a brand-new congregation. The Episcopalians and the Anglicans who are staying, I don’t know many of them, so this is really a brand new thing," Smith said.

Rev. Taylor Smith is a lifelong Episcopalian and he embraces the changes.

“We welcome everyone, and that’s been an issue sometime in the last ten years, but we are open and welcoming to all comers, and that’s really important to who we are," Smith said.

And whether Anglican or Episcopalian, the hope is that faith will bring them together.

“But we are now the people of this church and I hope everyone who worshipped here when it was an Anglican Church will come back. That will be a deep hope of mine, I don’t know if they will, that’s up to them. We can’t force anyone to worship anywhere but we’ll welcome everyone," Smith said.

Service will be held every Sunday at 8 and 10 a.m. at 1872 Camp Road on James Island.

Lowcounty Land Trust acquires McClellanville property holding iconic Deerhead Oak

MCCLELLANVILLE — A centuries-old oak tree spanning about 30 feet in circumference at its trunk has become an iconic landmark in McClellanville.Plans are underway to place the property under a conservation easement so the town can own it.The Lowcountry Land Trust acquired the single-acre parcel this fall that holds the Deerhead Oak. Its base sits at the intersection of Pinckney and Oak streets.Funds from the Charleston County Greenbelt Program and the landowner made the arrangement possible.Named for an image...

MCCLELLANVILLE — A centuries-old oak tree spanning about 30 feet in circumference at its trunk has become an iconic landmark in McClellanville.

Plans are underway to place the property under a conservation easement so the town can own it.

The Lowcountry Land Trust acquired the single-acre parcel this fall that holds the Deerhead Oak. Its base sits at the intersection of Pinckney and Oak streets.

Funds from the Charleston County Greenbelt Program and the landowner made the arrangement possible.

Named for an image formed by its branches, this special tree is the subject of artwork, murals and poetry in McClellanville, a news release said. The massive Deerhead Oak is bigger-bellied than the Angel Oak on Johns Island and taller too.

William Peter Beckman, a Confederate soldier who was stationed in McClellanville, opened a store in the tree’s shade at the close of the Civil War, according to reports. The town grew from his door.

The Deerhead Oak never stopped growing, either.

McClellanville Mayor Rutledge B. Leland III said the land has been passed down by members of the Beckman family since they opened the the town’s first store.

The Martin family in McClellanville has owned the property since the 1870s and has welcomed generations of residents and visitors to the tree.

“We are grateful for their (Beckman/Martin family) stewardship of the land and are honored to continue to preserve the park for generations to come,” Leland said in a news release.

In 2007, the Deerhead was named Heritage Tree of the Year by the S.C. Urban and Community Forestry Council for its cultural significance.

East Cooper Land Trust, now merged with Lowcountry Land Trust, started the work with the Martins years ago to conserve the Deerhead Oak property. Its former board chair, Justin Craig, recognizes the land as an area that brings people together and “defines our sense of place.”

“Land holds stories and connects people,” said Lowcountry Land Trust president and CEO Ashley Demosthenes. “Nowhere does that hold truer than a place like the Deer Head Oak.”

The land trust expects to transfer ownership of the property to the town in early 2023.

Free medical clinic seeking new patients in Charleston’s hospitality industry

Providing benefits like time off and health insurance for hourly workers is a relatively new concept at Charleston restaurants and hotels. Many still do not offer these services for non-salaried employees.Through its Hospitality Inclusion Project Initiative, the Barrier Islands Free Medical Clinic on Johns Island is helping fill a statewide coverage gap by providing free health care, referrals, emergency care and some prescription services to qualifying uninsured hospi...

Providing benefits like time off and health insurance for hourly workers is a relatively new concept at Charleston restaurants and hotels. Many still do not offer these services for non-salaried employees.

Through its Hospitality Inclusion Project Initiative, the Barrier Islands Free Medical Clinic on Johns Island is helping fill a statewide coverage gap by providing free health care, referrals, emergency care and some prescription services to qualifying uninsured hospitality workers in downtown Charleston, though you don’t have to be a hospitality worker to be eligible to receive regular clinic care.

Those who live or work on Johns Island, James Island, Wadmalaw Island, Folly Beach, Meggett, Ravenel, Hollywood and Walterboro can also receive care at the clinic.

“We want to make a medical home for them,” said BIFMC Medical Director Dr. David Peterseim.

What exactly does that mean? According to Peterseim, clinic nurses and doctors want to establish care with their patients and see them regularly. In addition to primary care, patients have access to doctors in 19 subspecialties, such as cardiology and gynecology. The clinic’s strategic partnership with Roper St. Francis Healthcare means patients can get free lab tests, cancer screenings and X-rays, along with emergency care at Roper, as long as they are enrolled before the emergency.

“You’ve got a quarterback and a quarterback with all kinds of support from pharmacy to radiology to invasive procedures that are all waiting to see what you need next,” Peterseim said. “You don’t have to chase the emergency room bill that’s going to come if you weren’t enrolled.”

A certified nonprofit, BIFMC’s workforce includes nine paid employees and 130 volunteers, including nurses, nurse practitioners and doctors.

“‘What’s the catch?’ is what some people think,” Peterseim said. “There is no bill generated from any care that’s delivered from the 37 doctors that work here every month.”

The center was opened in 2008 by two retired doctors, Arthur Booth and Charlie Davis, who wanted to establish a clinic that could treat working adults. Initially serving the Johns Island community and surrounding islands, BIFMC in 2018 opened a new clinic across the parking lot from the old one. With this state-of-the-art facility that has the look and feel of a normal outpatient doctor’s office, BIFMC has since expanded its areas of coverage, leading about 1,000 patients to its doors each year.

A member of the National Association of Free & Charitable Clinics, BIFMC follows the 299 percent poverty guidelines when deciding who qualifies for care. Uninsured individuals aged 18 to 65 in BIFMC’s service area must earn less than $40,634 annually to qualify, while couples who make $54,746 can visit the clinic. (Each additional person in a household adds $14,112 to the upward limit.) Patients must qualify every year.

BIFMC’s patient population was at an all-time high prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Clinic Director Brenda Falls, who said they’re biggest obstacle is raising awareness that they are there. With seven exam rooms, BIFMC has room to nearly double its capacity.

“We were just making a lot of traction, seeing some of our highest numbers that we’d ever seen, and then COVID hit,” Falls said. “If you’re not constantly creating awareness then people really don’t know that we’re here.”

“One of the biggest obstacles to getting patients is adults not realizing they’re eligible,” said Carrie Moores, BIFMC director of Development and Communications. “In my mind, those who work in the hospitality industry are kind of the perfect example of a person who would qualify in a clinic like ours.”

BIFMC can be a resource for the more than 100,000 South Carolinians who fall in the insurance coverage gap.

A decade has passed since the U.S. Supreme Court first upheld the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, but the court did so with a caveat. One of ACA’s central tenets — an expansion of the low-income Medicaid program to cover all adults who fall below the federal poverty line — became optional, with the court deciding states could not be compelled to participate in Medicaid expansion. Many states immediately decided the deal was too good to turn down, while several others, including South Carolina, opted out. The Palmetto State remains one of 11 states that have yet to expand the Medicaid program.

“Typically these lower income adults who rely on our services do not receive healthcare benefits via their place of employment, or they work multiple part time jobs without the benefits of any one full time employment. This is particularly true among those in hospitality,” Moores said. “I would say around 75 percent of our patients currently work at least one job, with many working as many as two to three jobs and still cannot afford to access health care.”

Many of the clinic’s volunteers are retired doctors who still have the urge to help those in need. Peterseim, who previously worked as a heart and lung surgeon at Roper for 15 years, was inspired to do more volunteer work after temporarily living with his family in Costa Rica, where he was performing surgeries at a free clinic.

“There are a lot of people that need care, so I got more involved in this project,” Peterseim said.

Some volunteers are active providers, including a dermatologist who closes their private practice every other week to work at BIFMC, while others are using their clinic work as a technical training ground as they pursue careers in medicine.

Diana Osorio has spent 165 hours caring for patients at BIFMC, work that will soon help her become a full-time nurse practitioner.

“You see everything from just regular visits to, ‘You need to go to the emergency room today,’” Osorio said. “What we do here is so meaningful to the patients that we see.”

Prospective patients can learn more about the clinic and fill out an application at bifmc.org.

Disclaimer:

This website publishes news articles that contain copyrighted material whose use has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. The non-commercial use of these news articles for the purposes of local news reporting constitutes "Fair Use" of the copyrighted materials as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law.