OKLAHOMA (Nov. 20, 2013) – Mercy will participate in a national pilot project for small rural hospitals to improve care for patients who transfer from the emergency department. The project is supported by OFMQ, Oklahoma’s Medicare Quality Improvement Organization, and the Oklahoma Office of Rural Health. Oklahoma was one of eight states selected to work on the recently launched pilot project funded by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
While emergency care is important in all hospitals, it is particularly critical in rural hospitals where the distance from urban medical centers makes the effective triage, stabilization, and transfer of patients essential. For example, when a patient arrives at Mercy’s emergency department needing time-sensitive care that includes transfer to a tertiary care center, Mercy’s ability to quickly assess, arrange, and get the patient out the door with the necessary and appropriate information can be of life or death importance.
“Mercy has long been committed to improving access to quality care in rural Oklahoma,” said Di Smalley, FACHE, regional president of Mercy in Oklahoma. “This is another program, in addition to our focus on physician recruitment, telemedicine and electronic medical records that will help rural Oklahomans get top notch care right at home.”
Mercy Hospitals participating include:
Data indicating how well a rural hospital serves this important care transition role is not currently widely available. This new pilot project will provide and support for Mercy and other rural hospitals to collect information on emergency department transfer communication, and use the data to improve quality of care, safety, and outcomes for patients transferred from their Emergency Departments.
“We appreciate our partnership with Mercy,” said Gayla Middlestead, OFMQ Quality Improvement Specialist. “This is a real opportunity to develop ways to make health care better. OFMQ commends Mercy for committing the resources to this important project,” she said.
About OFMQ Oklahoma Foundation for Medical Quality (OFMQ) is an Oklahoma City-based non-profit consulting organization dedicated to improving health care and improving lives. For more than 40 years, OFMQ has played an integral role in ensuring quality medical services for Oklahomans through health care review, quality improvement programs, health information technology consulting and public education. We contribute expertise and resources to support national quality improvement initiatives, including health care policy and payment decisions. Our major contracts are funded through the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services as part of Medicare’s Quality Improvement Organization program and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, through the Health Information Technology Regional Extension Center program. www.ofmq.com
About the Oklahoma Office of Rural Health The Oklahoma Office of Rural Health (OORH) was established in 1991, as part of a federal mandate, to coordinate, plan and promote quality healthcare for underserved rural Oklahomans. The OORH works with rural communities to help ensure their healthcare infrastructure is economically viable and to broaden and improve the access and quality of healthcare services. The OORH offers a broad array of services that supports this effort through training physicians and other healthcare providers, stabilizing rural hospital finances, increasing access to quality healthcare and educating the public and policy makers about the importance and unique nature of rural health.
Mercy is the sixth largest Catholic health care system in the U.S. and serves more than 3 million people annually. Mercy includes 31 hospitals, 300 outpatient facilities, 39,000 co-workers and more than 2,000 integrated physicians in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. Mercy also has outreach ministries in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.