Rural Hospitals Realize Major Benefits from Surgicalist Programs
Cashing in on a trifecta is a rare and major win. But, with a higher level of patient care, enhanced reputation and greater financial success, that’s what a rural hospital can achieve with a surgicalist program. And unlike at the racetrack, with SAMGI’s skill and expertise, little is left to chance.
Attracting the required team of high-caliber physicians has long been a challenge for rural hospitals. This includes surgeons in particular. The fact is that many physicians simply prefer less isolated environments.
Moreover, as surgical specialization becomes the norm, the broadly experienced general surgeon is rapidly becoming just a memory, diminishing the pool of surgeons appropriate for treating trauma and acute-care (TACS) cases. Drawing surgical talent from the local community comes with risks and potential pitfalls: lack of cohesive surgical leadership and standardized protocols and procedures, confusion at patient hand-off and possibly gaps in follow-up care. All this taxes already stretched clinical teams. This can this spell trouble. That’s a sure bet.
A Common Scenario
In America’s rural hospitals, the scenario is played out time and time again. Patients, possibly with pressing needs for immediate care, may wait hours in the emergency room for an on-call local surgeon. These surgeons are often tired and overworked, particularly if summoned in the middle of the night. If they never materialize, care is delayed as patients are transferred to hospitals in other communities far away from family and friends. Or, perhaps this trauma transfer is standard protocol. This often becomes a vicious cycle—eroding trust in local hospitals, diminishing their reputations, further hampering the ability to attract the needed surgeons and impacting the bottom line.
The Race is to the Swiftest
A surgicalist program can put rural hospitals on the same track as larger institutions in the race for success. It provides a contracted team of hand-picked board-certified or -eligible trauma and acute-care surgeons to meet a hospital’s needs to handle emergency cases 24/7/365 . Gambling on coverage with local surgeons is eliminated. SAMGI surgical teams function as part of hospital staff and the appropriate expertise is always available with highly qualified, motivated surgeons committed to a hospital’s success.
Through this model, smaller hospitals can enjoy high-caliber surgeons that they likely would not be able to recruit in-house, through traditional staffing agencies or as locum tenens. Surgeons participating in these programs enjoy an excellent work/life balance with predictable schedules. Much of the red tape surrounding private practice is eliminated, while physicians enjoy the rewards of their chosen medical field. They work with hospital leadership and function seamlessly as an integral part of the organization.
The Big Win
A SAMGI surgicalist program can mean hospitals are no longer forced to turn away complex emergency cases, their case mix index grows, and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement increases. And with SAMGI’s intake through convalescence care model, they can provide post-op and ongoing care for their emergency patients, adding additional income. A hospital’s standing in the community and beyond increases. Recruitment of high caliber staff overall may be more successful. All this, in turn, enhances the hospital’s reputation and likely draws more patients. And of course, most important, those patients enjoy a far higher standard of care.
So, at the finish line, a surgicalist program delivers a real trifecta. Everyone’s a winner—patients, communities and hospitals. That’s what a good healthcare system is all about.