ROCK SPRINGS — Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County recently shared some insight on their affiliation with University of Utah Healthcare (started in October 2013) and a few of the enhancements that their partnership will bring this year.
One of the biggest developments is a transition in the Emergency Department (ED) at Memorial Hospital. In September, the physician services contract with Pegasus Emergency Group will end and the hospital has decided to engage the Division of Emergency Medicine at University of Utah Healthcare to move into that role. The U of U Emergency Medicine team will be responsible for the physician management in the ED and has already begun recruiting candidates to fulfill those emergency provider positions, 4 of which will be required to live in Sweetwater County.
“I thank Pegasus for their role in the Emergency Department over the last 3+ years, but as we got researching our options it became evident that the quality, cost, and the depth of resources that come from the University of Utah Healthcare team were a better fit for us and we decided to do what we considered to be best for the community as a whole. We feel that their healthcare goals for the region are aligned with ours as they have several years experience in treating Sweetwater County residents locally, as well as at their own facility. This will allow us both to continue our focus on high-quality patient care and increasing specialty services to the Sweetwater County and the outlying region, while at the same time ease the transition of care for those who require a trip to Salt Lake,” said Jerry Klein, CEO of Memorial Hospital.
Dr. Erik Barton, Chief of the Division of Emergency Medicine at University of Utah Healthcare stated, “The University of Utah, Division of Emergency Medicine, is very excited to join the healthcare team at Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County by providing physician services in the Emergency Department starting this fall. Our goal is to expand the reputation of the University as “innovative medical leaders” to MHSC by offering the same high quality, patient-centered care to every individual who needs emergency services in our new partner institution!”
Another announcement that was shared is an increase in air transport services from the AirMed team, based at the University of Utah. Memorial Hospital has had a preferred vendor contract with AirMed for a fixed-wing (airplane) transport that is located at the Rock Springs-Sweetwater County Airport. A new contract between both parties will be a preferred vendor affiliation including the fixed-wing as well as a rotor (helicopter) on-site at the hospital. This contract will go into effect July 1, 2014.
“Our partnership with the U of U has brought many firsts to Sweetwater County. We were the first networked affiliate of the U of U and now we’ll be the first and only site, outside of the University of Utah itself, to have an AirMed helicopter on-site and a fixed-wing sitting at the airport ready-to-go 365 days a year,” said Gary Collins, PR & Marketing Director of Memorial Hospital. “The community and our hospital have had a long-standing relationship with AirMed and their services. Their commitment to Sweetwater County shows in the quality of their care and their local involvement and presence.”
A few of the other exciting things that are coming very soon for the hospital is the addition of a Tele-Stroke program in the near future and the introduction of a Tele-Burn program shortly thereafter. Telemedicine capability allows the use of modern technology to bring both facilities together in the treatment of a patient in real-time. High-tech video and audio systems allow a medical team at the University of Utah to interact with a medical team and the patient locally to help diagnose issues and provide follow-up care. It has been used across the nation in rural areas to increase services and allow the patient access to care that they normally would have to travel for.