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Critical Access Hospitals Strive to Improve Outcomes in MT

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, April 24, 2013

"Our work with the critical access hospitals identifies where some costs savings can be made and identifies the training and opportunities that critical access hospitals could benefit from to reduce waste, save money, improve care and outcomes and satisfaction."

The project also tries to address the near universal complaint from critical access hospitals that they're left in the dark when patients return to their homes after discharge from larger hospitals.

"That is one of the biggest things that we hear from our partners is we lose track of them," Traeder says. "Half of the time we don't even know if they went in and we don't know when they come back until something critical happens and they are back in the ER. Had we known what had happened to them we could have either helped prevent it or found someone in the community to do some home care."

"Traditionally we've not able to get patients back in their home communities from regional partners not because the regional partners didn't want to but because there wasn't an action plan and they didn't know if the critical access hospital had the capability or if it was an appropriate transfer back," Traeder says.

"We're partnering with regional facilities and opening communications, developing care plans and transfer protocols and those types of documents and procedures that haven't been in place before that will be standardized between critical access hospitals and larger facilities to get those patients back into their home communities because that is where we know they want to be."

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