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SMH discusses adding urgent care option to ER

SHERIDAN — Sheridan Memorial Hospital is looking at ways to provide an alternative urgent care option for patients who come to the emergency room with less critical issues that don’t necessarily need emergency treatment.

Dr. John Addlesperger presented information to the hospital board of trustees at their regular meeting Wednesday about the possible ways to accomplish the new treatment model.

“The urgent care is going to be an additional service the hospital provides besides emergency care. It’s going to have a separate entrance but use some of the same rooms the emergency department has,” Addlesperger said following the meeting. “It’ll be for different kinds of problems, problems that we can take care of pretty rapidly so people don’t have to wait and can get their things taken care of and be on their way.”

The urgent care would be used to treat issues such as minor fractures, sprains, lacerations and minor illnesses that need a minimal amount of testing.

“We hope to save people a lot of time and money because we can do that for a lot less money than the emergency department,” Addlesperger said.

The hospital would use current staff and space to operate the urgent care. Addlesperger anticipates it would be staffed with one provider, one nurse and one office manager. He anticipates that 25 to 30 patients per 10-hour day could be treated in the urgent care department.

“The acuity or degree of sickness of emergency patients really determine how many people can move through,” Addlesperger said. “If we have some serious traumas, it really slows down the care for the people that have less urgent problems that want to just get in and get seen and get out. We’re hoping this way we can provide better service and get people in and out.”

Hospital CEO Mike McCafferty informed the board about his recent discussions with physicians, department managers and more than 250 hospital employees about the current health care environment.

The hospital experienced a 2 percent cut due to the recent sequestration. McCafferty said that will have a $320,000 net impact to the bottom line.

With less money coming into the hospital from sequestration cuts and reductions in Medicare and Medicaid funding, the hospital is looking at ways to reduce spending. One area is in the hospital’s supply budget. The current net output on supplies is 19.8 percent of the budget, McCafferty said. He would like to cut that to 16 percent or less, which could offer a $700,000 savings per percent.

“We have a huge supply budget and we’ve got great opportunity in that,” McCafferty said. “There’s a potential of a couple million dollars worth of savings if we renegotiate contracts. There’s some opportunities there. We have opportunities to manage our staff resources more effectively.”
In other business:

• The board discussed the success of the new heart catheterization lab. Staff had originally thought they’d have 100 patients in the first year, and the lab has had 50 patients in the first few months.

“Clearly it’s a service the community wants,” said Ed Johlman, the hospital’s chief financial officer.

• Addlesperger mentioned that Dr. Gregory Marino, medical oncologist at the Welch Cancer Center, will come on as senior staff. The cath lab will also have a visiting electrophysiologist at least one day every other week. Dr. Loren Budge will come down from Billings to consult with patients and physicians on specific cases that require electrophysiology.

About

Hannah Wiest is the government and outdoors reporter for The Sheridan Press. She has lived in Colorado and Montana but loves her sunny home state of Wyoming best. She joined The Press staff in February 2013.

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