By supporting local healthcare workforce with best-practice training and education, ARHP can increase the quality of care in rural Arkansas, provide better, more accessible care to patients at the local level, and improve patient and provider satisfaction.
"It is together, as a collective group of hospitals, that we have the ability to improve and increase healthcare services, train and recruit healthcare providers, and have a stronger voice for rural healthcare in the state of Arkansas and across the country."
In order to survive, [hospitals/clinics] must continue to educate and build the skills of our healthcare workforce to be competitive with larger hospitals, we must be able to recruit healthcare professionals and staff to work in our rural communities by being able to offer competitive salaries and benefits in order to attract a viable healthcare workforce, and we must implement telehealth services to fill in the gaps of care where there is no workforce.
ARHP currently provides staff and healthcare provider education and certification opportunities in partnership with UAMS Institute for Digital Health utilizing their Learn on Demand Platform. This year, ARHP member hospitals, clinics, and FQHCS will onboard onto the UAMS system for orientation and compliance training as well as continuing education opportunities at no cost to participating organizations. This program will provide support for 16 healthcare organizations and 4,400 healthcare providers and workers across the Arkansas Delta region. Estimated cost savings valued at $100,000 a year.
ARHP’s mobile simulation van travels throughout south Arkansas and the Arkansas Delta providing on-site simulation training and certification to healthcare providers in 18 participating hospitals. This training allows healthcare providers to practice life-saving techniques and practice in real-time with highly-trained instructors from UAMS Center for Simulation Education. These trainings have included OB, pediatric, and adult trauma training, as well as stroke, coding, sepsis, and other training identified as a need by participating hospitals. Over the past five years, this program has trained approximately 1,700 healthcare providers for a cost saving of over $1.7 million dollars.
ARHP has collaborated with the UAMS Psychiatric Research Institute to assist with providing primary care clinics in south Arkansas with mental health medication management information services which includes a Monday - Friday (8am - 5pm) on-call pharmacist to answer medication related questions; live and on-demand presentations for primary healthcare providers to include identifying and treating common mental health disorders and a customized web page for users to access pre and post-testing materials. ARHP is currently working with UAMS PRI to provide education and support to hospital Emergency Departments and promotion of ARConnect, a 24-hour hotline for mental and behavioral health crisis.
In an effort to address treatment for Substance Use Disorder patients, ARHP has facilitated efforts to assist with increasing the number of MAT waivered providers from 1 to 9 providers in south Arkansas, promoted UAMS AR Impact and MATRIARC, provided SBIRT training to providers, worked with UAMS to develop Learn on Demand trainings provided on naloxone and opioid use, Tapering and Withdrawal, Alternatives to Opioids, Risks and Side Effects of Opioid Use, and provided access to SUD counseling for patients in ARHP member clinics.
ARHP has partnered with UAMS Institute for Digital Health to expand their South Central Telehealth Resource Center to three sites in the Arkansas Delta region (Lake Village, Helena, and Pine Bluff) which will open next month. These satellite resource centers will provide telehealth training and support to healthcare providers and patients including usage of telehealth equipment and wearables and the capabilities of monitoring and utilizing telehealth to address lack of transportation and access to healthcare in rural south Arkansas.
ARHP works with Critical Access Hospital members to increase their revenue and patient volume through a quality and effective swing bed program. The program includes assisting hospitals with staff education, billing education, marketing and coordination assistance, and support to increase patient volume and create quality care for recovering patients close to home. The program began in October 2020 and has already demonstrated an increase in swing bed usage in participating CAHs.
ARHP has provided support by promoting the use of evidence-based quality improvement culture to promote the delivery of cost-effective, coordinated health care services in primary care settings. We developed the ARHP Regional QI Committee that meets quarterly to discuss ongoing efforts of the primary care clinic partners to address critical quality improvement throughout rural south Arkansas. Through the Health Coaching Pilot Program, we have been able to provide post-discharge education to approximately 773 individuals since August 2020. With this program, the individuals are provided with additional education on their primary hospital diagnosis and/or chronic illnesses that led to hospitalization, signs and symptoms to look for with worsening of condition and when to seek follow-up with their primary care provider versus when to seek emergency care, education on medication compliance, and assistance with DME needs, scheduling follow-up appointments, and referrals to address social determinants of health needs. Through partnership with InQuiseek Consulting, the QI grant was able to fund an “Everything RHC” workshop that provided high-level education to all member RHCs on the following: Federal regulations that apply to RHCs, Sub-regulatory guidance, Qualifications and Requirements, Compliance for Certification, Coding, Billing and Reimbursement requirements, Practice Management, and Emergency Preparedness requirements.
ARHP regularly schedules meetings with member directors from departments across member organizations (nursing, finance, radiology, materials management, etc) to facilitate communication, efficiency, revenue production, and cost savings within our network. To date, ARHP is responsible for coordinating 15 different focus groups with an emphasis on improving operations for our facilities. These roundtables became extremely important during COVID-19 as some met with more frequency and the communication built in the months prior really helped facilitate supply distribution, bed availability, equipment needs, etc.