Blue Mountain Hospital start Tele-Critical Care Services

Blue Mountain Hospital took another step toward expanding healthcare services in San Juan County earlier this week by initiating CCU (Critical Care Unit) services in conjunction with Intermountain Healthcare.

BMH has one patient room and one bay in the Emergency Room for Critical Care patients. Both have secure interactive audio and video systems connected with Intermountain’s TeleCritical Care Support Center in Midvale, Utah. There, experienced Intensive Care physicians and nurses serve as a second set of eyes, supporting the local care team at BMH, providing 24/7 backup with the ability to round on patients, and monitor vital signs and the condition critically ill patients. The nursing staff and physicians at BMH were trained in the use of the Tele-CCU equipment and protocols so that they can coordinate patient care with Intermountain providers.

According to BMH Nursing Director Kent Turek, the goal of the CCU service is to eliminate the need for patients and their families to travel to Salt Lake City for CCU care if it can be done locally. He said BMH intends to start slowly with the CCU services but stressed they will be expanding the service to higher levels of care as they build the program.

“We want to keep this treatment local and save the expense of traveling for patients and families. As we extend our services, we can help community residents stay local and still get great care,” Turek said. “Doctors at Intermountain can communicate with doctors here and consult about patient conditions. If possible, patients can stay here and be treated, but if necessary Intermountain can help arrange transportation to another facility.”

Turek said Intermountain physicians can check on patients in the CCU rooms and still allow them to have a high level of privacy. If Intermountain physicians want to check on patients via the television monitors, the patient is notified beforehand.

“This Tele-CCU service will make a big difference in patient care,” BMH CEO Jeremy Lyman added. “If patients don’t need to be transported and they can stay here. Patients heal better and quicker if they are around family and friends and don’t have to travel. And there’s less cost for them and their families.”

“Intermountain’s goal is to be a partner on Blue Mountain Hospital’s care team as they care for complex and really sick patients,” says Dr. Bill Beninati, the Medical Director of Intermountain’s Critical Care TeleHealth Program. “We work directly with the bedside medical team to determine the appropriate course of action for each patient, serve as real-time clinical decision support, ensure best practices and consistency of care in a high-stress environment, and provide a safety net for bedside staff and patients. If a patient needs to be transferred, we’ll work with your doctors and nurses to help prepare the patient for the smoothest transfer possible.”

Intermountain physicians and other personnel have visited Blue Mountain Hospital to work with BMH nurses and providers and help accommodate the logistics of the new service.

“This will allow us to care for higher acuity patients in the community, when it is appropriate to keep them here,” said BMH RN, BSN and CCRN Tammy Bonds,

who has helped facilitate the new CCU program. “We’ve been working about four months to get the equipment installed, including a new ventilation system to help patients breathe if needed, with or without a ventilation tube. All the equipment is hard-wired into the wall in both places, so it’s not on a cart, and our nurses have been trained to use all the equipment. If additional training is needed, our nurses can be trained over the monitor from IHC.”

The Tele-CCU service went on line on December 20.

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