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2008: Quality

In An Emergency Quality Counts
Dr. Robert Plass, Medical Director
Rideout Emergency Department

These patient comments illustrate the high quality of care provided in the emergency room at Rideout Memorial Hospital. And we just keep getting better.

This year, we are on track to treat more than 53,000 patients - a 47% increase since 2004. During that same time frame, we have cut patient waiting time in half. Every patient is examined as soon as possible by a doctor or a physician assistant who also orders necessary lab tests and X-rays. In addition, the ER has hired more physicians, nurses and technicians to keep up with increasing patient volume. We have also significantly reduced the "door-to-admission" time for the hospital patients admitted through the ER.

Under Medical Director Dr. Robert Plass, the ER has teamed up with other departments to create an Emergency Process Improvement Committee. In just one short year, this team has:

  • Improved lab and radiology result turnaround times.
  • Streamlined the registration process.
  • Increased housekeeping services.
  • Made food available for patients on site in the ER.

"These changes help to shorten wait times, improve care and increase patient satisfaction," says Dr. Plass. "Plans are also in the works for expansion to provide more privacy. Our goal is to continue to improve the entire patient experience." As one patient noted: "Care has definitely improved. Keep up the good work!" We intend to do just that.

In an emergency, dial 9-1-1 or seek treatment at Rideout Emergency Department,

Golden State Donor Services Recognize Our Star Quality
Steve Frost, RN, Director of Nursing
Rideout Memorial Hospital

At Rideout Health, we believe that saving lives is rewarding, in and of itself. Nevertheless, we were honored when Golden State Donor Services (GSDS) presented its 2007 "Shining Star Champion Award" to Steve Frost, RN, Director of Nursing at Rideout Memorial Hospital for his outstanding service in saving lives through organ donation. What's more, GSDS honored the entire hospital staff by presenting Rideout Memorial Hospital with its "New Shining Star" hospital award.

"I was surprised to be recognized for doing a job that anyone should just expect - trying to make an emotional experience comfortable for donor families," Steve says.

"The credit really goes to the entire staff," he adds. "It's a collaborative effort by the doctors, nurses and counseling staff to ensure compassionate support to organ donor families. The families come through the process with the rewarding knowledge that one person's gift can save the lives of several others."

GSDS is a nonprofit, independent organization authorized by the Federal Government to accept organ and tissue donations for transplantation. The organization's service area covers 11 counties in Northern California, including Yuba County, as well as Santa Rosa.

Rideout Memorial Hospital is one of approximately 30 hospitals working with GSDS to meet the urgent need for organ donations. As Steve notes: "The need for transplants far exceeds the number of organ donors. Organ donation is truly the gift of life."

Newborn Hearing Screenings: Leading the Way in Improving the Quality of Life
Sheryl Lawrie, RNC, BSN,
Nursery and Neonatal Intensive Care Supervisor

Statewide statistics indicate that two to four out of every 1,000 babies have a hearing impairment at birth. That means Fremont Medical Center, with 2,500 to 2,600 births per year, could potentially identify four to eight babies per year who need to be referred for more in-depth evaluation.

"The objective with newborn hearing screenings is to detect hearing loss as early as possible so we can intervene sooner to correct the problems," says Nursery and Neonatal

Intensive Care Supervisor Sheryl Lawrie, RNC, BSN. "All babies are tested prior to discharge from the hospital. Babies who do not pass that test are re-tested again later on an outpatient basis, and those who still do not pass are referred to an audiologist to determine the cause of the hearing loss."

Fremont Medical Center's experience in providing newborn hearing screenings dates back to 1996, when the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended screening all at-risk newborns for hearing loss. With the support of donations from the Yuba-Sutter community, we purchased hearing screening equipment and elected to screen all newborns - not just at-risk newborns. Subsequently in 2000, the California Department of Health Services contacted us to participate as one of 10 facilities in developing a statewide program mandating the universal screening of all newborns. That program - the California Newborn Hearing Screening Program - became mandatory for all hospitals in 2006.

"Our staff members are all well-trained and evaluated for competency in conducting hearing screenings," Lawrie notes. "Our competence and our years of experience are reflected in the high quality of the results we produce. Our performance ranks well above state requirements, and we have a very low rate of referring babies who do not actually have hearing problems."

Treatment for newborn hearing loss can range from using hearing aids that amplify sounds to cochlear implants - small electronic devices that can help provide the sense of sound to a baby who is severely hard-of-hearing.

"The earlier you can intervene, the better able you are to help the baby develop properly in terms of speech and socialization," says Lawrie. "With our high-quality screenings, we're catching hearing losses early, when it will help the most."

And that is sweet music to any mother's ears.

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