January 30, 2017
The Nurse Practitioner (NP) Hospital Medicine Program implemented by Rusk County Memorial Hospital (RCMH) is quickly becoming a recognized program on the national rural healthcare stage. Since the program’s launch in 2014, RCMH has experienced improvements in quality of care as well as increases in patient satisfaction scores. The program model has been recognized by several healthcare entities and was recently featured in Today’s Hospitalist Magazine.
Hospital medicine is a relatively new and rapidly expanding way of providing medical care specifically for hospitalized patients through the use of hospitalists. A hospitalist oversees a patient’s care from admission, through diagnosis, treatment and discharge from the hospital. When patients complete their inpatient hospital stay, they return to their primary care physician for follow up and ongoing care.
The hospitalists at RCMH are advanced practice nurse practitioners (APNPs) with specialized training to exclusively care for hospital inpatients in the medical, surgical, intensive care, swing bed and observation programs. RCMH hospitalists coordinate with teams of hospital professionals to provide exceptional care around the clock. The hospitalists’ sole focus is to care for patients while they are in the hospital, so patients receive the personalized care they need to recover and return home.
The Hospital Medicine Program at Rusk County Memorial Hospital was recently featured in an article in Today’s Hospitalist titled “NP Hospitalists: The right rural staffing model.” Today's Hospitalist is a monthly publication that reports on quality, management and clinical updates for the growing field of hospital medicine. The article explores the benefits of having a hospitalist model in a rural healthcare setting.
Before the Hospital Medicine Program was implemented at RCMH, care was provided for hospitalized patients by primary care providers who also saw clinic patients. This meant the providers visited patients before and after clinic hours, between clinic patients, over lunch hour, etc. With the NP Hospital Medicine Program, RMCH hospitalists are available 24/7 to care for patients, answer questions and follow up on test results.
Through the Hospital Medicine Program, patients benefit with a shorter wait time to be admitted from the Emergency Department, shorter hospital stays as a result of tight coordination of care and timely tests, results and consultations and quicker discharge from the hospital once it is deemed that a patient is ready to return home.
The nurse practitioner model at RCMH is especially advantageous to rural healthcare facilities. The program relieves primary care providers of the need to be on call after clinic hours. By providing the opportunity of a better work-life balance for physicians, rural hospitals anticipate being able to retain more providers.
For these reasons, RCMH Chief Executive Officer, Charisse Oland, has been a featured presenter at several conferences regarding the NP Hospital Medicine model utilized at RCMH, including the American Hospital Association’s 2016 Rural Health Care Leadership Conference, the National Rural Health Association’s Annual Rural Health Conference and the North Dakota Hospital Association’s 2016 Annual Convention.
In addition, RCMH hosted the Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative’s (RWHC) Hospital to Hospital (H2H) Program in July 2016, allowing hospital executives and medical directors from around the state to explore various models of Advance Practice Nurse Practitioner hospitalist programs.
“Our investments in our Hospital Medicine Program have been worth it,” says Ms. Oland. “The program helps us to retain primary care physicians and allows us to provide a better service to our local community. We are constantly looking at how we can do things better and invest in infrastructure to increase our level of care and provide excellent service to our patients. Our Hospital Medicine Program is helping us to achieve these goals.”
To read the full hospitalist article, visit www.todayshospitalist.com/np-hospitalists-right-rural-staff-model/.