Carle Richland Memorial Hospital delivers services in the right places for patients, community
January 24, 2020
‘Tis the season for New Year’s resolutions as Carle Richland Memorial Hospital (CRMH) reaffirms its mission to deliver high-quality, accessible healthcare. But how we deliver care evolves in today’s fast-paced environment. Over the last year, partnerships and strategic investments helped make CRMH a service destination.
“We provide an unmatched commitment to an eight-county area for people who need medical attention,” said Harry Brockus, CEO, Carle Richland Memorial Hospital. “Our excellence and specialty services make us a hospital of choice.”
That commitment experienced a fair amount of change as CRMH leadership aligns resources to meet community demand and need for services.
Brockus said employees and the community both have noticed changes in staffing and the types of services provided.
“Change is difficult. While our local leaders have a clear vision for our future success, it may be harder for community members to appreciate our choices,” he said. “Every decision we make, no matter how small or large, puts patients first and to ensure we’re here to serve our community for years and generations to come.”
He added as services expand there will be opportunity for more growth to support the community, “You’ll continue to see some new faces that soon will become trusted friends and neighbors.”
Advancing technology and innovation
CRMH joined half of the hospitals in the United States that use EPIC, the gold standard electronic medical record (EMR), to improve healthcare analytics, ease communication among providers and engage patients in their care.
“Patients experience a tremendous level of electronic access in other industries and expect the same level of service and ease from their healthcare providers,” said Tim Gillespie, director, Information Systems.
EPIC provides an accessible, efficient system, allowing providers and patients to track progress related to care. On the back end, EPIC information also helps make sure Carle meets quality standards and alerts providers to potential issues so they can act earlier to ensure better outcomes for the patient.
But physicians are not the only ones who benefit.
Through the MyCarle portal, patients schedule appointments online, request prescription refills and message their physician 24/7 from their phone, computer or tablet and can access medical records and test results.
Additional technology, like Virtual Visits, save time and money. Patients interact anytime with doctors who provide medical advice, prescriptions and referrals at an affordable price. Using video or phone chat, patients with non-emergency needs can feel better faster without time in a waiting room.
“Think of a mom with a 5-year-old,” Brockus said. “At 2 a.m., her child wakes up wheezing from a bad cough or complains about their ear hurting. Rather than rushing out to the emergency room, Virtual Visits connect the family with a doctor in a matter of minutes.”
Brockus said even with the use of technology, healthcare remains very personal.
“It is the personal touch and attention to each patient’s needs that distinguishes our organization – a unique blend of top technology and the hearts of caring people,” Brockus said, adding, “As we continue to grow and expand our care teams, people will make the greatest impact.”
Growth to support high-quality and accessible healthcare to our region
CRMH saw tremendous growth – the most in 10 years – welcoming 18 new providers to the hospital and clinics in Primary Care and Specialty Services, including the first hospital pediatrician to support young families and the nursery.
“Now we customize care for the entire family – birth to retirement,” said Christina Bare, director of physician practices. “And we see patients more quickly. To top it off, beginning in February, Convenient Care at Main Street will expand hours, opening daily at 8 a.m.”
CRMH continues to expand specialty offerings including Cardiology, Audiology, Podiatry and Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) to intervene before more complex issues arise. Providers travel to regional clinics to reach patients close to home.
“We respond to our communities’ needs,” said Brockus. “Agriculture and industry work can be hard on a person’s body so we provide services to keep our neighbors active. Aches and pains can hinder your ability to work and play.”
Leaders are working diligently to build care teams to support minimally invasive surgery and orthopedics, including adding a full-time radiologist and an anesthesiologist to oversee Interventional Pain.
“Although we’re well prepared for surgical needs, we offer non-surgical solutions to common head, neck, back, hip, knee and shoulder pains,” said Brockus.
When more serious health concerns occur, CRMH stands ready with more advanced care and emergency services, also growing through partnerships.
Focus on partnerships
Strategic partnerships with Carle AirLife and the Noble Fire Department extend life-saving care in the region, designed to get care to a scene sooner.
This spring Carle Arrow Ambulance and Noble Fire Department are combining forces to pre-position emergency personnel to improve response times by attaching a new ambulance station to the existing fire department.
“When you or a loved one need care for a heart attack and stroke – minutes can be critical in preserving heart and brain function,” said Jeff Johnson, manager, Ambulance Services. “Having EMS and fire personnel closely connected improves communication and response time.”
When critically ill and injured patients need advanced care, AirLife helicopters carry blood products so care begins immediately. They offer 24-hour air medical transport teams for Obstetrics and Neonatal Intensive Care Units ensuring the safety of families welcoming babies.
Highly trained first responders meet these and other emergency needs.
A new educational partnership with Illinois Eastern Community College (IECC) launching in February will create opportunities for up to 20 individuals through a two-year paramedic training at a state-of-the-art facility.
“We’ve committed $750,000 to this facility –not only educate new paramedics – but also to provide ongoing training for our local police and fire departments,” Brockus said. “It can be used by Carle Arrow and other area ambulance services to keep their teams up to date on the latest techniques.”
Investing in modern facilities
Construction began on the Olney medical office building with scheduled completion this summer. It consolidates Primary Care, Convenient Care, Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, Behavioral Health, Laboratory and Radiology and conserves healthcare resources.
These improvements allow for continued wellness care with close proximity for expanded needs like labs and x-rays.”
Carle’s commitment to mental health services continues at this site with a private suite dedicated to Behavioral Health.
“Breaking the stigma around seeking health is the priority,” said therapist Leslie Shan. “Offering community mental health first aid makes people aware of the signs a loved one needs help and guidance on how to approach someone in need.”
Shan continues to work with businesses, organizations, churches or schools to schedule low-cost Mental Health First Aid training. Contact her at (618) 392-1486.
As for regional clinics, Carle Bridgeport expanded and Carle West Salem will see renovations including the continuation of the local retail pharmacy.
Visitors to CRMH will notice fresh paint and flooring in several areas of the hospital, a new Urology Clinic and upgraded electrical and elevators.
“As healthcare evolves, we’re taking the necessary steps to ensure Carle Richland Memorial Hospital is always at the forefront of patient care for the next 20 years, not just the next year. We’ll adapt to meet the expectations of our patients, to offer high-quality services and keep our hospital and clinics top in the region,” Brockus said.