July 2020

Innovative Partnerships, Superior Care: Palmetto Medical Group teams up with Beaufort Memorial Hospital

Author: Marie McAden | Photographer: Paul Nurnberg


From left to right: Jennifer Stokes, FNP-C, Lynn Goetze, M.D., Scott Cummings, M.D., Erica Roper, PA-C, Kamal Patel, M.D., Stephanie Lovato, PA-C.

Palmetto Medical Group, a Bluffton primary care practice established in 2008, has joined Beaufort Memorial Hospital’s (BMH) growing network of health care providers serving patients south of the Broad.

The board-certified providers, including internist Dr. Scott Cummings, family medicine physicians Drs. Lynn Goetze and Kamal Patel, physician assistants Stephanie Lovato and Erica Roper, and family nurse practitioner Jennifer Stokes, have become official members of Beaufort Memorial Physician Partners effective July 1, 2020.
“We’re very excited to add such experienced physicians and advanced practice providers to our team,” BMH president and CEO Russell Baxley said. “Providing access to high quality primary care is critical to Beaufort Memorial’s mission to enhance the quality of life in the Lowcountry through improved health, innovative partnerships and superior care.”

Drs. Cummings, Goetze and Patel are all founding partners of the practice, which currently boasts a team of 28 medical and administrative staff members. Cummings has been a physician for more than three decades, serving as an emergency medical services physician and section chief at medical centers in Virginia and Georgia before moving to the Lowcountry in 2004 to practice at a local primary care and urgent care clinic.

Over the course of her career, Dr. Goetze has worked in family medicine, urgent care and occupational health practices in the Midwest and Northeast. She has been in the Lowcountry since 2000. Dr. Patel was two years out of his medical residency at Ohio’s Barberton Citizens Hospital in Ohio, where he served as chief resident, when he joined the practice in 2008.

Specializing in family medicine, Lovato has been a physician assistant in the Hilton Head Island area since she earned her Master of Science from South University in Savannah in 2008. Her colleague, Roper, was born on the island and graduated from Clemson University in 2008. She completed her medical training at the Medical University of South Carolina four years later.

Stokes started her career in health care as a registered nurse at Beaufort Memorial Hospital. Since completing her family nurse practitioner studies at South University in 2016, she has specialized in family medicine, sports medicine and urgent care.

The practice, which has been renamed Beaufort Memorial Palmetto Medical Group, will remain at its current location at 4818 Bluffton Parkway and can be reached at (843) 706-0600.

“Recognizing the growing need for health care services in the southern part of Beaufort County, Beaufort Memorial has stepped up to meet the demand with an ambitious expansion plan that will benefit us all,” Dr. Cummings said. “Our patients will now have access to the specialist care available through the hospital and its affiliation with MUSC Health, as well as the ancillary services only a hospital can provide.”

BMH opened its first medical office in southern Beaufort County—the 4,000-square-foot Bluffton Medical Services—in July 2006. Within three years, it tripled the size of the facility, adding a dozen new exam rooms for physicians, a rehab center and diagnostic technology. In 2011, it added another 4,000 square feet of office space to accommodate more exam rooms and a full-time OB/Gyn practice.

As part of its south-of-the-Broad capital improvement plan, the nonprofit hospital added May River Medical Pavilion last fall, featuring both a primary care practice and walk-in clinic. Later this year, it will complete construction of its new Okatie Medical Pavilion, a three-story, 70,000-square-foot complex that will offer full-time primary and OB/Gyn care and appointments with specialists, a cancer center, women’s breast health services, outpatient rehabilitation, laboratory and imaging services, and another walk-in clinic. The facility will replace the current multispecialty offices in Westbury Park.

In addition, BMH has partnered with MUSC Health to build a $44 million micro hospital—the first of its kind in South Carolina—on 13 acres near the corner of Buckwalter and Bluffton Parkways. 

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