In its steady march to increase services to the area, Wickenburg Community Hospital has become certified as a base hospital and, as of today, will provide in-field advice to Life Line Ambulance crews.
Until now, Life Line’s paramedics or emergency medical technicians called a physician at Del E. Webb Medical Center in Surprise when the advice of a doctor was needed on an emergency call.
WCH Chief Nursing Officer Linda Brockwell and emergency room staff worked on the criteria for base hospital certification for many months before it was granted by the Arizona Department of Health Services. Brockwell said, WCH is equipped to care for many of the people sent to Del Webb Medical Center, and most could be better served if they received treatment in Wickenburg rather than being transported to Surprise, which takes about 30 minutes.
“Stroke treatment, especially” Brockwell said, “Wickenburg Community Hospital has a stroke treatment facility. Time is tissue, and there’s a limited window of opportunity to get medication administered to stroke victims.”
The change does not mean that all patients will be taken to WCH for treatment. Every patient treated by Life Line will continue to have a choice of being transported to Wickenburg or Surprise for hospital treatment. Additionally, if Life Line consults with a physician and determines the patient needs care at a facility other that WCH, the on-call doctor will recommend that person be taken where he or she can receive the best care, Brockwell explained. In the long run, she predicts that with the new system, more patients will be brought to WCH where they can receive care and stay closer to home, friends and family. “It’s the right thing to do,” she said. “It helps patients… they can stay in Wickenburg where they have a family support team. It’s helpful to have family and friends visit patients.”
A couple of other benefits will be a faster turn-around time for getting the ambulance back in service, and as a base hospital, WCH can replenish ambulances with medication and supplies used on a run. In the past, the supplies were provided by Del Webb Medical Center, Brockwell explained. Also, with the new certification WCH will be able to provide credentialing and continuing education for first responders.
Life Line Operations Manager Peter Como echoed the benefits of the switch.
“Life Line is very excited about this new partnership. The benefit to Life Line is simple, we strengthen our relationship with an important community partner. The benefit to the Wickenburg area is that they can be confident that Wickenburg Community Hospital can provide world class treatment; and care for many of their residents’ medical needs from the emergency call activation all the way through their discharge from the hospital. This is very attractive because now this can be accomplished without the patients having to leave their community.”
WCH President and CEO Jim Tavary sees the base hospital certification as another step in the continuing growth of services provided at WCH, and credits the ER staff for completing the long process of earning the certification.
“I’m extremely proud of the time, energy and expertise our Emergency Department Team has dedicated over the past two years in earing this prestigious designation. Led by CNO Linda Brockwell, ER Supervisor Tammy Olk, RN, and Base Hospital Medical Director Brian Peters, MD, WCH is now in a place to provide medical direction for Life Line Ambulance to provide more immediate services to a greater number of higher acuity patients,” Tavary said.
In the future, Brockwell hopes to establish base hospital arrangements with the Wickenburg Fire Department as well as those in Congress and Bagdad. WFD Chief Ed Temerowski said he is open to discussions about WCH as its base hospital, but it is a move that will take some study and approval of Town Council.
For now, WFD continues to consult with physicians at Del Webb Medical Center.
The article originally appeared in the Wickenburg Sun http://www.wickenburgsun.com/ by Jeanie Williams, Editor