Expanded hours, centralized services at PMH RHC
The Pocahontas Memorial Hospital Clinic achieved status as a Rural Health Clinic last week.
The application process, which began in August 2011, became a reality last Tuesday, but not without an 11th hour dash on Monday night to address the "surveyor recommendations" CEO Barbara Lay said.
Once approval to go forward was received, staff kicked it into high gear with scheduling and facility improvements to bring the bulk of PMH Clinic services under roof at the hospital.
Patients will register at the new reception area in the front lobby of the hospital before being triaged at the new, improved emergency area.
Patients seeking care at the clinic after normal business hours and on weekends will register and be triaged at the ER entrance.
Privacy walls and windows now surround the ER work area. Exam rooms for the clinic are just down the hall in an area that previously housed various offices and personnel.
This change in operation will offer improved patient care, and greater access to that care.
In the past, patients often had no alternative but to go to the ER after hours for healthcare, which carried with it ER charges.
"With the clinic in the hospital, lab and x-ray services will be a part of clinic services, rather than ER," said COO Terry Wagner.
Several hands on deck now provide expanded hours which should allow most, if now all, patients to be seen in the clinic, even on Sunday afternoon.
The RHC will have a rotation of several medical practitioners including Clinic Medical Director Dr. Frank Puckett, Dr. Chase Ranson, Dr. Jafar Salmassi, Dr. Brian Gullett, and PA-C Ehab Awad.
Although implementation of the RHC appears to have come about effortlessly, that is not the case.
"Everyone worked on it," Wagner said.
"Everyone" includes Lay, Wagner, LPN Cassie Gunter, Laboratory Manager Kathy Irvine, "trusty volunteer" Evaline Beverage, Medical Records Supervisor Ernestine Pollard, Business Office Manager Wanessa Cassell, Dr. Puckett and many others.
Following years of paperwork and stress in turning around the financially troubled facility, the paperwork and efforts in this latest endeavor have come to sweet fruition.
"In the end, we will provide better services for patients and expanded hours with all services under one roof," Lay said.
"And walk-ins are welcome," Wagner added.
The PMH Rural Health Clinic is ready to serve the community, seven days a week, during the following hours: Monday and Friday 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.; and Sunday 1 to 5 p.m.
Patients may also be seen by Dr. Puckett, PA-C Dave Plank and Dr. Bonnie Gifford at the PMH Clinic facility in the medical plaza on Duncan Road.
Jaynell Graham may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org