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Cardiac catheterization lab at SMH exceeding projections

SHERIDAN — The cardiac catheterization lab at Sheridan Memorial Hospital has been open nearly a year and has already seen four times more patients than projected.

Chief Information Officer Nile Morgan updated the hospital board of trustees on the cath lab at their rescheduled December meeting held Wednesday.

Morgan said cath lab staff have performed nearly 400 procedures since opening. It was projected 100 procedures would be done in the first year. Nearly 250 patients have been treated for cardiac problems that would have been sent to Billings or Casper before the cath lab opened.

“When we opened the program we looked at several hospitals opening a similar program with a similar population to try to project what our numbers would be, and that’s what we based it on,” Morgan said. “Maybe those numbers were conservative to some extent, but still, a fourfold increase is pretty significant. What that tells us is that our community, number one, supports our cardiology program, but at the same time maybe we overlooked what that need was and what the outflow of those patients was in those other areas.”

Chief Medical Officer John Addlesperger noted in the meeting that so far the cath lab has had a “door to balloon” time between 60 to 70 minutes.

That means it takes, on average, less than 70 minutes to get a patient who walks into the Emergency Room with chest pain diagnosed, transferred to the cath lab, prepped and catheterized.

The national average is 90 minutes.

“Every minute that you shave off of that 90 minutes is just one more minute that lowers the potential that some part of your heart is dying from no blood flow, so that’s a good thing,” Morgan said.

Morgan said the lab was placed adjacent to the ER in order to reduce the “door to balloon” time and that it is staffed so doctors are always on hand. He also said the lab was staffed with the three-year plan of 300 procedures per year in mind so it has been no problem to handle the increased numbers. He hopes the program will continue to grow as residents of outlying counties hear about the good work being done at the cath lab.

The hospital board was also updated on the progress of the new urgent care. Addlesperger said more than 300 patients have been treated so far, but that no patterns of use have emerged yet. It is estimated the urgent care will see approximately 20 patients per day, but that number has been sporadic, ranging from five up to 25 daily, over the first two months of operation.

“With the exception of a very few bumps, the rollout seems to be going really well,” Addlesperger said.

The urgent care clinic is adjacent to the emergency department and is intended to lessen the pressure on the ER as well as provide a cheaper alternative for patients who visit the ER with non-emergency conditions.

In other business:

• On. Jan. 19, the hospital will begin to use a new computer system that integrates payroll, human resource records and an employee time clock. The Kronos system will replace the current system which is more than 20 years old. It will allow for better management of finances and records and will allow the hospital to go paperless with pay stubs, saving approximately $4,000 per year.

The purchase of the system was approved by the board in May. It cost $470,873. It will cost about $20,000 more per year to operate but will save a significant amount of man hours.

• The board approved and adopted new bylaws and rules and regulations that will significantly improve hospital and staff operations, CEO Mike McCafferty said. He credited Dr. Barry Wohl for his work over the last year on rewriting the new bylaws.

“When I say a tremendous amount of work, I’m understating it,” McCafferty said about the efforts of the team that worked on the bylaws.

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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