The staff at Arbor Health Morton Hospital, a 25-bed critical access hospital, sees all manners of illness and injury come through their doors. Depending on the severity of those illnesses and injuries, sometimes the staff’s job is to treat the patient and discharge them home. Sometimes they admit the patient to the hospital for extended treatment and when needed, they stabilize the patient and ready them for transport to a higher level of care.
A stroke patient is a good example of the latter. Once the life-saving clot-buster medications are administered and the patient is stabilized, they’re then transferred to a hospital with on-staff neurologists.
However, it has long been a challenge of how to make those facility-to-facility transfers happen. Arbor Health CEO Leianne Everett explains that while patients are readily transported to Morton Hospital from the surrounding area via the area fire department ambulances, it has long been a challenge to secure transportation for patients who are being transferred out of Morton Hospital to other facilities.
“Having to rely on out-of-the-area private ambulance services, who have to leave their normal service area in order to pick up Morton patients, our patients often have had to wait for upwards of eight hours or more before being transported,” she says. “There was no simple solution to be found.”
Everett appointed Pam Logalbo, R.N., a former air flight nurse, to manage a project to solve this issue. Under her leadership, Arbor Health attempted to contract for services with several ambulance companies for designated services for Morton Hospital patients. However, it was not financially feasible for organizations based outside of the area.
As it happened, just as Logalbo was ready to give up, the Oregon-based Adventure Medics Company sought to move into Washington State and, in fact, located to Onalaska. It still took quite a few more months of negotiating and fine-tuning, but Adventure Medics recently entered into an agreement for Morton Hospital’s facility-to-facility transfer.
Adventure Medics, which got its name from the company’s beginnings of providing ambulance services for sporting events and the like, provides Critical Care Advanced Life Support services on its ambulances. Project Manager and Paramedic Matt Jones describes the ambulance as a “rolling intensive care unit” because of the critical care training all their medics possess. So, not only are the Morton Hospital patients now being transported quicker but they are also receiving a higher level of care.
Morton Hospital is not Adventure Medics’ only customer. The ambulance service provides transport for others as well. However, the contract stipulates that Morton Hospital patients are the priority. Therefore, Adventure Medics ambulances are required to respond to transport requests within two and a half hours at least 85 percent of the time.
“We are so pleased that this project has been completed and Adventure Medics are on the job,” Everett says. “This is a big advantage for our patients.”
Arbor Health Morton Hosptial
521 Adams Ave.