Telemedicine Reduces Patient Transfers
Rural Medicine Patients are at Risk when Critical Access Hospitals are Forced to Transfer Patients, or Worse, Forced to Close Altogether.
Rural Medical Patients are at risk as much needed healthcare access is being restricted in their area. “People in rural areas of the United States wait, on average, nearly twice as long for ambulances as those in urban areas. New research from the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health has found that hospital closures in rural areas increase those EMS transport times.” Reports the Journal of Emergency Medical Services*, and continues by reporting, “Many rural hospitals struggle to remain financially viable, and hospital closures are becoming more and more common in these areas. This puts a population that already experiences longer wait times for acute medical care even more at risk for poor health outcomes, not only because the distance between the patient and the nearest hospital increases, but also because hospital closures often mean the hospital-based EMS agency may also close.”
»»» Funding and Retention Solutions are in high-demand for Critical Access Hospitals in Rural America. This isn’t the first time we have seen a need for extended resources to these rural hospitals either. In 1997, Congress created the Critical Access Hospital (CAH) designation through the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 (Public Law 105-33) in response to a string of rural hospital closures during the 1980s and early 1990s.** 23-years later, the funding just isn’t providing as much relief as it once did in the past.
»»»» Horizon Virtual is proving to be a viable long-term solution for Critical Access Hospitals. Telemedicine/Remote Access Physicians are revolutionizing the healthcare industry by allowing rural patients to be seen immediately in their local hospital, without needing the risky 40-70 mile transfer. All-the-while, providing a cost-effective staffing solution to the hospital, minimizing physician drive times and physician burnout.