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Rust Medical Center Implements Tool, Care Model to Reduce Costs and Promote Quality Care

April 10, 2012

RIO RANCHO, NM – The Clinical Education Department at Presbyterian Rust Medical Center (RMC) has developed a scoring tool to aid staff in prioritizing patient care. The tool helps monitor the nursing staff’s work load intensity and promotes safer patient care.

The “Nursing Workload Intensity Index” was specifically designed for the nursing staff at RMC due to the unique care model being utilized. The care model, called “Universal Care,” is an acuity adaptable model which combines intermediate level of care and telemetry with general medical and general surgical patients into one unit. This means patients are able to stay in one room during their entire length of stay in the hospital. Traditionally, patients are transferred to different units when their condition changes.

“According to several studies, transporting patients frequently negatively impacts healthcare quality, which includes an increase in cross-infections, medication errors, staff injuries and costs,” said Denise Gonzales, M.D., medical director of RMC. “On average, each patient transfer costs about $500 and usually takes almost four hours to complete.”

The intensity index and the acuity-adaptable care model are helping RMC reduce costs and improve care. Patients are staying in the same room, avoiding costly transfers and sometimes complicated handoffs. This has been shown to reduce patients’ overall length of stay in the hospital. Nursing staff is being used more effectively and efficiently, and is able to care for patients more appropriately.

“This model combines highly trained staff and innovative design elements to create a seamless approach,” said Angela Ward, RN, director of patient care services at RMC. “The patient rooms have all been constructed the same way and include the same tools and equipment needed to care for patients at any level of care, even intensive care.”

About Presbyterian Healthcare Services

Presbyterian Rust Medical Center is Rio Rancho’s first full-service hospital and New Mexico’s first 21st century hospital, and is part of the Presbyterian Healthcare Services family. Presbyterian Healthcare Services exists to improve the health of patients, members and the communities we serve. Presbyterian was founded in New Mexico in 1908, and is the state’s only private, not-for-profit healthcare system and its largest provider of care. Presbyterian offers eight hospitals, a statewide health plan, and a growing multi-specialty medical group. Presbyterian is the second largest private employer in New Mexico with more than 9,000 respected employees and growing.

Media Inquiries:

Niki Allcorn
Communications Specialist