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Use of APPs at Critical-Access Facility Earns National Award

Posted on Wed, Jan 04, 2017
Use of APPs at Critical-Access Facility Earns National Award

By Diane Simerly, RN

Faced with physician recruiting challenges and a strained relationship with the community, EmCare’s team at CHI St. Luke’s Health Memorial San Augustine set out to change the culture at the 18-bed critical-access hospital, winning a national award in the process.

This fall, our team’s hard work at CHI St. Luke’s Health Memorial San Augustine in San Augustine, Texas, earned an Excellence Through Insight award for Most Improved Overall Emergency Department Experience for hospitals with less than 100 beds from Healthstream, a national third-party organization dedicated to improving patient outcomes.

The Excellence Through Insight awards recognize organizations that excel in their ability to gain insight into their patients, employees, physicians and consumers through research and to use that information to build excellence within their organization.

After analyzing the issues at San Augustine, Adam Corley, MD, an executive vice president with EmCare, suggested using seasoned, high-functioning advanced practice providers (APPs) to solve the problem, and offered to serve as the sponsoring physician via computer or mobile phone. Our team presented the concept to hospital and system administrators.

Once given the green light, Dr. Corley and Peni Russell, NP, carefully reviewed clinical candidates, focusing on those with a high skill level and a positive attitude for working with clinical staff, local providers and the community.

“The success of this initiative hinged on hiring right,” explained Dr. Corley. “Once the right clinicians were in place, the team’s mantra was to do what’s right for the patient, treat patients and their family members well, and follow best practice for clinical outcomes.”

For example, a local young adult has a unique condition that can create a great deal of pain. She has a team of doctors at the closest tertiary facility, which is two to three hours away. San Augustine has become her preferred facility for acute pain control on a frequent basis. However, staff became concerned about professional liability as the patient returned more than once in 24 hours for pain medication Russell and Darlene Williams, RN, chief executive officer, collaborated to develop a care map and order set agreed upon by Nursing and providers to provide safe care while adequately addressing the patient’s pain needs.

The San Augustine and EmCare team continues to improve quality services.

Diane Simerly

Diane Simerly is a director of clinical services with EmCare.

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