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PMC Continues to Seek Patient Input through Health Assessment Study

PMC Entry Way (1)

The community-wide health assessment, a collaborative effort to determine health needs in Prowers County, is continuing, according to Prowers Medical Center, Craig Loveless. The said the periodic study takes in about 160 viewpoints through online questionnaires, or roughly 2% of the county’s population.  “The hospital is also conducting a detailed, door-to-door assessment among the Spanish speaking residents in the community, a sector which did not have weigh-in the last time this was done,” he explained, saying the study in 2013 was basically online.  We also expect to hear from the clergy as the study is being publicized in that manner.  “The county population is about 12,000 and 2% of that for a response would be about 240 persons which would be a good statistic for our needs.”

Loveless was presenting an overview of hospital operations for the Prowers County Commissioners during a recent visit to their monthly board meetings. He said the number of patients had taken a down turn for the first time in about 18 months, “but that is partially indicative of a national, seasonal trend for the medical industry at the end of the summer.”  Loveless said the hospital continues to focus on health management practices for the general patient and continue to increase the number of outpatient services through specific equipment purchases to reach patients who would otherwise travel away from the county for medical treatment.  “We’ve improved in that area with the renovation program increasing the scope of the emergency room, our rehab gym and surgery suites for additional outpatient services.”

“We do have leakage that is expected, such as travel to other hospitals for cardio surgery. I attended a rural health conference recently where cardiology and related medical treatment was discussed.”  Loveless said a patient does have the right to use whatever doctor they select, but he wanted to see the services provided at Prowers Medical Center continue to grow so a patient would not have to leave the district for care that can be provided locally.  “When you self-pay for your treatment, you’re able to select which physician you want for care, but Medicaid doesn’t want to pay for travel expenses when treatment can be offered locally,” observed Commissioner Buxton-Andrade.

Loveless said the hospital’s patient family advisory council can provide feedback about any shortcomings for healthcare that may develop at the PMC for improved care, but there may be some services we’re providing that the community isn’t aware of, “That’s best conducted through word of mouth, to get the message out.” He added that consumer reports on health care can also be an indicator, especially patient’s satisfaction reports which let us know how well we’re doing from their perspective is important.  “One area we concentrate on is patient follow-up following treatment.  We want to be sure they understand all their instructions for post care treatment and that burden is usually on the providers.  But if there’s something the patient doesn’t understand, I hope they’ll let us know,” he explained.  Loveless said the hospital’s online patient portal is probably underused as not as many people are making use of it as they could.  “It works fine and we’re ready to provide a full explanation of how it can be used for their personal medical records and scheduling visits on their own time,” he said.

By Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: City of LamarConsumer IssuesCountyFeaturedHealthPublic Safety

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