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Rural Health Clinic designation achieved by four GRH clinics

Hospital news | Thursday, March 31, 2016

Contact: Mardi Ford

(LEFT: Paul Shorb, GRH Senior Director Provider Services)

Grande Ronde Hospital, Inc. (GRH) received the good news earlier this week that four of our clinics have passed a Rural Health Clinic (RHC) survey conducted March 29, 2016. The Regional Medical Clinic, the Union Clinic, the Elgin Clinic, and the Women's & Children's Clinic were all officially certified. Surveyor Janelle Pilmer, RN, Public Health Division and Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services representative reported that all four of our clinics were “well organized and pristine, and that is why (they) were able to perform three surveys in one day. “ According to the surveyors that is something that they have never done before.

According to the Rural Health Information Hub, the RHC program is intended to increase access to primary care services for Medicaid and Medicare patients in rural communities. RHCs must be located in rural underserved areas, which is a designation Union County received approximately one year ago. In addition, the Hub states that RHCs “are required to use a team approach of physicians working with non-physician practitioners such as nurse practitioners (NP), physician assistants (PA), and certified nurse midwives (CNM) to provide services. The clinic has to be staffed at least 50% of the time with an NP, PA or CNM. RHCs are required to provide outpatient primary care services and basic laboratory services.”

Patients are already benefitting from the increased lab services now available in our RHCs, and the broader community benefits from the RHC status as it will better allow GRH to maintain clinic services and support our provider base.

According to Paul Shorb, GRH Senior Director Provider Services, becoming a RHC requires a comprehensive understanding of the RHC requirements, preparation of a hard copy information binder, physical adjustments to the facility and supply handling, and a program evaluation prior to the initial RHC survey. Multiple departments in addition to clinic management and staff were part of the project to achieve RHC designation. During the survey each clinic's policies were reviewed, procedures were verified, clinic utilization was reviewed, and medical chart reviews were performed.

“Many policies were drafted, reviewed, updated and implemented and processes were updated to meet the RHC requirements. Our staff did an amazing job on a project that required a great deal of effort and teamwork,” said Shorb.

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