So proud of our partner hospital in Iron River, Michigan!
IRON RIVER — Aspirus Iron River Hospital recently was named one of the Top 100 Critical Access Hospitals in the U.S. by iVantage Health Analytics and The Chartis Center for Rural Health.
As a top-performing CAH, Aspirus Iron River is recognized as being one of the best of the 1,332 rural safety-net hospitals in the nation, officials said.
“This achievement is very gratifying and validates our daily commitment to providing the best health care possible to our community while maintaining an efficient and effective facility,”Aspirus Iron River CEO Connie Koutouzos said. “It’s a testament to the high-quality, patient-centered care we provide. This recognition also salutes the skill and dedication that is displayed daily by our medical staff and employees. We are dedicated to leading the transformation of health care for the communities we serve.”
A CAH is a hospital certified to receive cost-based reimbursement from Medicare. This program is intended to reduce hospital closures in rural areas, promote a process for improving rural health care and focus on community needs.
CAHs are in rural areas, can have a maximum of 25 acute care in-patient beds, and provide 24-hour emergency services.
Aspirus Iron River Hospital scored in the top 100 of Critical Access Hospitals on iVantage Health Analytics’ Hospital Strength INDEX. The INDEX is a comprehensive rating of rural providers. It provides the data foundation for the annual Rural Relevance Study and its results are the basis for many of rural health care’s most prominent awards, advocacy efforts and legislative initiatives.
The list of the Top 100 Critical Access Hospitals and more information about the study can be found at www.iVantageINDEX.com.
Aspirus Iron River was among only five to make the list in Michigan, another being Aspirus Ironwood Hospital. Aspirus partner hospitals in Wisconsin, Aspirus Medford Hospital and Aspirus Langlade were the only CAHs to receive the designation from Wisconsin.
The Top 100 Critical Access Hospitals play a key role in providing a safety net to communities across America — and the INDEX measures them across eight pillars of hospital strength: Inpatient Share Ranking, Outpatient Share Ranking, Cost, Charge, Quality, Outcomes, Patient Perspectives, and Financial Stability.
Aspirus is a non-profit, community-directed health system based in Wausau, Wis.
Aspirus serves communities throughout northern and central Wisconsin, as well as the western Upper Peninsula.
The integrated system includes four hospitals in Michigan and four hospitals in Wisconsin, 50 clinics, home health and hospice care, pharmacies, critical care and helicopter transport, medical goods, nursing homes and affiliated physicians.
Dr. Kristin Fontes, Medical Director at Aspirus Iron River Hospital, says strokes are becoming more common in young people. Here is a video on this topic.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has published new car seat safety guidelines as of August 30, 2018. They have updated their recommendations to state that children should remain rear-facing until they reach the highest weight or height (whichever they reach first) for their seat. Previously the AAP recommended rear-facing until at least age 2, but with these new guidelines, many children can and should remain rear facing much longer.
You may be wondering – why is rear-facing important? Infants and toddlers have heads of disproportionate weight to the rest of their body. Rear-facing seats help to better cradle the head during a crash, therefore protecting the neck and spine from injury. Neck and spine injuries are some of the most devastating and heart-breaking injuries we care for in the emergency department.
As Emergency Physicians, we are thrilled with these new recommendations. Car accidents remain a major cause of death and disability for children under age 15 and this evidence-based policy recommendation guides parents in proper restraint use to protect their child. Please check your specific seat for the height and weight limits for rear-facing installation.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Association has published guidelines, recommendations and can even help set up an installation inspection. See their website for further information.
EpiPen Shortages & Anaphylaxis Risks
Drug shortages are affecting our patients and providers on a daily basis. One of the most concerning recent shortages is the limited availability of the Epi-Pen, a home device used to deliver epinephrine to patients with life-threatening allergic reactions (anaphylaxis). 1-2% of the population will develop anaphylaxis in their lifetime. Anaphylaxis is a complicated reaction leading to mast cell release, airway swelling, and can cause cardiopulmonary arrest. Epinephrine is the treatment of choice.
The development of epinephrine auto-injectors has allowed patients with a history of anaphylaxis to initiate immediate life-saving treatment in cases of repeat events. Patients are provided with prescriptions for epinephrine auto-injectors to carry with them at all times. Patients benefit from having multiple auto-injectors to keep at home, school, work, and daycare.
In order to manage this dangerous shortage, the FDA has extended the expiration date of some of the pens (regular Epi-pens, not the Jrs) by up to 4 months. Patients can check the FDA website to verify the lot number on their pen. Patients should not throw away their pens until they check the website to see if the expiration date has changed and also verify that the pharmacy can refill them. Some schools and daycares are still refusing to use expired pens even with this FDA announcement due to liability concerns.
There are now additional auto-injectors available – Adrenaclick or Auvi-Q – both are FDA approved epinephrine devices but they have a different delivery system so patients will need to read the instructions carefully and train themselves before they need to use them. Patients should check with their pharmacy to determine what they have in stock and what their insurance will cover.
Practicing Rural Emergency Medical Care
Approximately 60 million Americans live in rural communities across the United States. When it comes to health care, they face unique challenges compared to patients who live in urban communities. There are far fewer physicians, both primary care and specialists, and patients must travel further distances to get to physicians and hospitals. There are also proportionately more severe auto accidents and trauma-related deaths despite the overall lower population. In the current economic environment, many rural hospitals have been forced to close labor and delivery units – meaning that pregnant women must now travel even further for care.
Innova Emergency Medical Associates helps hospitals tackle the difficult problems of physician recruitment and Emergency Department quality. We are drawn to the numerous benefits of practicing medicine in rural areas – especially the relationship that forms between the physician and the members of the hospital staff, our patients and the community as a whole. We wanted to create a way to recruit highly qualified, board certified Emergency Medicine physicians to provide world-class care to areas that had struggled with either staffing or quality in their Emergency Department – and it has been a huge success!
Our hospitals have been shocked by our ability to change the culture of their Emergency Department and take the quality of care delivered to new heights. Our physicians are dedicated to patient safety, ED throughput, and provide outstanding patient care.
Here at Innova, patient safety is our top priority. We know that long waits and high left without being seen (LWBS) rates put patients at risk – and we work diligently to maintain outstanding performance in these metrics. We recently acquired a hospital contract at a site that sees approximately 12,000 patients per year. The Emergency Department layout is ideal with plenty of space to accommodate the volume, but when our partnership began, the Door to Provider times and LWBS numbers were unacceptably high.
An astonishing 9.6% of the patients were leaving without ever being seen. Patients were languishing in the waiting room with average wait times of nearly 1 hour. The general culture was that nothing could be done.
Within 60 days, our average wait time dropped by 60% to just 20 minutes. The LWBS rate fell from 9.6% to <2% (an 80% improvement) and patient satisfaction scores have skyrocketed.
Contact us if you are interested in learning more about how Innova partners with hospitals to deliver world-class care to patients!
August 2nd, 2018
DENVER— Innova Emergency Medical Associates announced today that they are relocating their national headquarters to Catalyst HTI in Denver, CO. The team at Innova searched for a community where their own penchant for innovation could collide with other leaders looking to reimagine healthcare. In fact, Innova’s longtime tagline “Emergency Care Reimagined” perfectly matches the culture of innovation at Catalyst.
Innova’s Founder and CEO, Dr. Steve Sherick stated that “Since 2011 we’ve been working tirelessly to improve the quality of emergency care in hospitals across the US through cutting edge care and employee ownership and our move into Catalyst represents the next step in our journey. Our providers live across the country from California to New York, and our partner hospitals span from Arizona to Indiana and many states in between, but our home base is in the great health innovation community of Denver.”
Innova was founded in 2011 with the idea that all patients deserve the best in patient care, and that it was possible to do so while treating patients, providers and partner hospitals with the utmost respect. Innova provides emergency department provider staffing across the Intermountain West and Midwest, specializing in rural emergency departments. Innova is proud to have an exclusively employee-owned structure that creates a level of true investment by the employees into a company which believes that you work hard when you work, and enjoy your life and family beyond your dreams when you’re not working.
Catalyst HTI is a health care industry ecosystem putting together some of the most forward-thinking minds in the field, under one roof. Catalyst President Mike Biselli said that “Having Innova join us at Catalyst is an honor and a critical part of our ecosystem, as the team they have represents the future of health care, especially the future for our health care providers.”
***Innova will be having an open house in their office on the 3rd floor (Suite 320) of Catalyst (3513 Brighton Blvd., Denver, CO 80216) from 1-3PM on August 21st. Please come by and meet the team and learn more about how Innova plans to be an ever-bigger part of the ecosystem at-large.
One of the biggest challenges facing our rural communities is access to care.
In the last 8 years, 5% of rural hospitals have closed their doors, leaving their communities with no access to emergency care and many more hospitals continue to struggle to keep their doors open.
Additionally, one of the major tragedies in access to care has been the closing of labor and delivery units in a large number of rural hospitals.
Here at Innova, we were very glad to see a recent article in the New York Times highlighting access to care issues for rural communities. This article focuses on both lack of obstetrical care as well as lack of Emergency Services available to a large percentage of rural patients.