RCMH Hosts Hospital to Hospital (H2H) Program

August 2, 2016

Rusk County Memorial Hospital (RCMH) hosted the Rural Wisconsin Health Association’s (RWHA) Hospital to Hospital (H2H) program, a special clinical education forum for rural healthcare providers and leaders from across the state, on Friday, July 22. RCMH shared its successes in pioneering an all Advance Practice Nurse Prescriber (APNP) Hospitalist program with 13 other rural hospital executives, medical directors, nursing leaders, and clinicians. 

These top level leaders exchanged their own experiences with telemedicine and other successful hospitalist models to understand the impact that APNP hospitalist programs have on patient safety, quality, care processes, clinical and financial outcomes. APNP hospitalists programs can enhance rural hospital’s services and provide stability, especially in rural communities where there are growing shortages of primary care providers. Additionally executive leaders from both the Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative and the Wisconsin Hospital Association participated in the event to advocate for removing regulatory barriers to success through better legislation and by identification of educational opportunities for advance practice nurse practitioners in these roles.

According to Charisse Oland, RCMH Chief Executive Officer, “At the heart of our four-point plan for improvements at RCMH was the creation of an all-Advanced Practice Nurse Prescriber Hospitalist program to eliminate hospital call burden for providers and also to help us to recruit new physicians.” The program, launched in 2014, has proven to be very successful, but has not been without challenges.

“Because the APNP hospitalist profession is relatively new in rural hospitals and these professionals are in high demand, the pathway was filled with many challenges, from practice to regulatory issues. Yet the undaunted team forged ahead and learned along the way by its achievements and pioneering strategies,” says Oland.

The H2H event was initiated by the Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative (RWHC) three years ago to encourage sharing of best practices and networking among rural hospitals. According to Tim Size, Executive Director, who attended the learning session, the RCMH staff “really hit it out of the ballpark.” A video copy of the presentation is available to rural hospital members and will be shared with WHA, WNA, the Wisconsin Center for Nursing and, nationally, the Rural Health Information Hub.

RCMH was invited to present its APNP Hospitalist program model at two national rural hospital association annual meetings, the Wisconsin Hospital Association Rural Health Conference, the H2H and will present at the North Dakota Hospital Association convention this fall.