Client Case Study:
Rural Healthcare ED Staffing
A rural hospital with 14,000 annual ED visits experienced chronic inefficiencies and provider shortages which impaired the hospital’s capacity to care for patients. It became clear that substandard care was endangering patients’ health, due to citations deemed of Immediate Jeopardy to ED patients. As an Office of Inspector General (OIG) report noted, “Immediate Jeopardy is the most serious deficiency categorization based on the scope and severity of the actual or potential harm to patients.” Eventually, the Centers for Medicare & and Medicaid Services (CMS) placed the hospital on a track toward termination from the Medicare program. Given the hospital’s heavy reliance on Medicaid revenues, the loss of CMS certification threatened a major financial blow.
RHS worked closely with hospital leadership to design a shared-accountability contract with strict mandates for efficiency, safety and quality. Additional provider, nurse scribe, and support staffing were added to the affected units and all policies and procedures were reviewed and updated.
Three years later, emergency care at the once troubled hospital is a very different story. Today, Rural Health Staffing provides a robust complement of full-time board-certified providers, with approximately three dozen nurses, a dozen or so advanced practice providers and more than 20 physicians working along with hospital clinicians and leadership. The CEO said “When I first started at the hospital, there was one employed nurse on staff. Now we have three or four employed nurses in the ED working in collaboration with RHS nurses and support staff. It doesn’t matter if you are a hospital employee or Rural Health Staffing, we are one team.” The result is exceptional patient care and outcomes aligned with national standards. In addition to helping the hospital maintain its CMS certification, Rural Health Staffing was integral to the hospital receiving the Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval in 2019. Earning this accreditation is a badge of honor for any hospital, signifying rigorous adherence to national patient safety and quality standards