About YRMC

  • YRMC Diagnostic Radiologist Named 2013 Physician of the Year

    by Community Outreach and Philanthropy, (928) 771-5686 | Jan 22, 2014

    Ask Brian Kimball, MD—Yavapai Regional Medical Center’s (YRMC’s) 2013 Physician of the Year—what he enjoys most about his work and he’ll summarize it in two words: “The people.”

    The board certified diagnostic radiologist joined the hospital’s medical staff in 2002, after considering other hospitals in Arizona and Utah.

    “The community and the hospital are just full of good people,” he said. “YRMC’s physicians, nurses and technologists provide excellent care. The entire staff is kind and professional. I’m proud to be part of that.”

    Before joining YRMC, Dr. Kimball served as an Air Force physician. From 1999-2002, he was stationed at Eglin AFB in Florida. Prior to that, he earned his medical degree from Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska and was a resident at the University of Arizona Medical Center in Tucson.

    Dr. Kimball enjoyed Tucson, his wife’s hometown, but he missed the feeling that comes from living in a smaller community.

    “I grew up in Richfield, Utah, which was a community of about 5,000 residents at that time,” he said. “When my wife and I visited Prescott, I knew that it had the small-town feel I was missing.”

    According to John Amos, YRMC President and CEO, Dr. Kimball exemplifies the hospital’s Total Healing Environment in his interactions with patients as well as hospital staff and volunteers.

    “Dr. Kimball always puts the patient first,” said Amos. “He strives for excellence in the care he provides patients and believes wholeheartedly in the value of every member of the YRMC team. He brings YRMC’s Mission and Vision to life every day.”

    The YRMC Physician of the Year is presented annually to a doctor who:

    • provides excellent patient care;
    • builds positive relationships with employees and volunteers;
    • shows respect for everyone with whom he or she comes in contact;
    • demonstrates sensitivity to patients’ needs and desires; and
    • takes pride in the hospital.
  • First Cranial Neurosurgeries Performed at YRMC

    by Community Outreach and Philanthropy, (928) 771-5686, released March 14, 2012 | Jan 03, 2014

    Top Neurosurgeon Brings Expertise and Experience to the Quad Cities

    The first cranial neurosurgeries ever performed in the Quad City region took place recently at Yavapai Regional Medical Center (YRMC). The two successful surgeries— Ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunting procedures—were performed by accomplished neurosurgeon, Harvey G. Thomas, MD, FRCFC, who joined YRMC six months ago.

    “There is a need in the community for VP shunting,” Dr. Thomas said. “Now that this important service is available here, people who require it can remain close to home with support from family and friends.”

    VP Shunting Surgery Performed at YRMC

    VP shunting is performed to relieve pressure on the brain due to surplus cerebrospinal fluid, which may occur in people suffering from dementia, brain tumors or other conditions. This excess fluid can cause people to suffer from stroke-like symptoms. VP shunting re-routes the fluid, relieving the pressure on the brain and alleviating the patient’s symptoms.

    During a VP shunting surgery, Dr. Thomas creates a small opening in the patient’s skull. He then inserts reed-thin tubing and directs it to the patient’s abdominal cavity. Dr. Thomas also places a dime-sized pressure valve under the skin behind the patient’s right ear. The tubing and valve together re-direct the fluid away from the brain to the abdomen where it can be reabsorbed into the body. The pressure valve is programmable and may be adjusted—opened for additional flow or closed tighter—even after the surgery by using a computer with specially designed software. The amount of cerebrospinal fluid around the brain is measured during CT scans of the patient’s head approximately four weeks after surgery and again six weeks post-surgery.

    “A build-up of cerebrospinal fluid on the brain can cause forgetfulness, lack of concentration, problems walking and even incontinence,” said Dr. Thomas. “This procedure can relieve those symptoms for many people. And now, folks who need VP shunting don’t have to travel outside of our community for it.”

    YRMC Prepares for VP Shunting

    Before YRMC’s first VP shunting surgery, the hospital diligently prepared for the surgery by providing training for its nursing staff and purchasing special equipment for the surgical suite.

    “VP shunting is the foundation for the hospital's entire Intracranial Neurosurgery program,” said Diane Drexler, RN, BSN, MBA, FACHE, YRMC’s Chief Nursing Officer. “The efforts we took to prepare for this surgery have established a strong foundation for the program going forward.”

    YRMC’s nursing staff participated in classroom sessions led by Dr. Thomas and Physician Assistant Jeremy Platt, PA, PA-C. During these sessions, Dr. Thomas and Platt highlighted the role of the nursing team before, during and after VP shunting surgery. YRMC nurses also visited another hospital as part of their training program to prepare for VP shunting surgeries. From the pre-admission work the nursing staff pursues with patients, through surgery and recovery, YRMC’s nursing team was prepared to care for neurosurgical patients.

    “Dr. Thomas has a great relationship with the nursing team,” Drexler said. “They know both Dr. Thomas and Jeremy are available to them as resources. This is so critical to a successful program.”

    YRMC Launches Neurosurgery Program

    Building the Neurosurgery program has been a collaborative effort between YRMC’s leadership—the executive team and its Board of Trustees—and Dr. Thomas.

    “Every decision about the Neurosurgery program has been made with our community and patients in mind,” said Tim Barnett, YRMC’s President and CEO. “We are extremely pleased the program includes Dr. Thomas, who is an exceptional neurosurgeon, and a great addition to our community.”

    Dr. Thomas, who is affiliated with YRMC PhysicianCare, came to the Quad Cities from the Phoenix-area, where he helped found Arizona Spine and Joint Hospital. He also served as that hospital’s Chairman of the Board. Before that, Dr. Thomas was Surgery Department Chair at Chandler Regional Medical Center. Dr. Thomas is board certified as a neurosurgeon by the American Board of Neurological Surgeons. In 2010, he was selected as a “Top Doc” by Phoenix Magazine.
  • YRMC Recognized As National Leader in Patient Safety

    by Community Outreach and Philanthropy, (928) 771-5686, released January 27, 2012 | Jan 03, 2014
    Yavapai Regional Medical Center (YRMC) is among six healthcare organizations nationwide—four of them hospitals—to receive the CNA Leadership in Safety Award since it was initiated by CNA HealthPro in 2009. The award was presented to YRMC leaders in December by CNA HealthPro executives.

    “Every day, I see people throughout YRMC demonstrating their commitment to the hospital’s Total Healing Environment,” said Tim Barnett, YRMC President and CEO. “However, when representatives of an organization outside of YRMC observe our values in action and then feel compelled to recognize us, I can’t help but feel extremely proud of the YRMC team.”
    Chicago-based CNA is a major provider of professional liability insurance for hospitals and other healthcare providers throughout the country. The CNA HealthPro representatives with whom YRMC works nominated the hospital for this award.

    “YRMC’s patient-centered approach to delivering care demonstrates its ongoing commitment to the community it serves,” said June Leigh, CNA HealthPro Assistant Vice President, Risk Control. The CNA Leadership in Safety Award recognizes healthcare organizations that have exhibited excellence in patient safety.

    “We work with many outstanding healthcare organizations, but only a select few are recipients of this award,” Leigh said. “The award represents organizations with enterprise-wide patient safety and quality improvement programs – dedicating their resources to achieve measurable results focusing upon outstanding customer service.”
  • "Top Doc" Joins YRMC PhysicianCare

    by Community Outreach and Philanthropy, (928) 771-5686, released November 9, 2011 | Jan 03, 2014

    Physician Introduces Neurosurgical Specialty to Quad Cities

    When Harvey G. Thomas, MD, FRCFC, joined YRMC PhysicianCare in September, he brought outstanding credentials, an exceptional team and years of experience. He also brought a much-needed medical service to the Quad Cities.

    “With Dr. Thomas’ arrival, we welcomed one of Arizona’s finest neurosurgeons to our community,” said Don Bolin, MBA, CMPE, Executive Director of YRMC’s employed physician network, YRMC PhysicianCare. “Today, residents in need of delicate back surgery have access to this extraordinary neurosurgeon.”

    Dr. Thomas comes to the Quad Cities and YRMC PhysicianCare from the Phoenix-area, where he helped found Arizona Spine and Joint Hospital in Mesa and also served as its Chairman of the Board. Before that, Dr. Thomas held the prestigious post of Surgery Department Chair at Chandler Regional Medical Center. Dr. Thomas is board certified as a neurosurgeon by the American Board of Neurological Surgeons. He also is active in the American Association of Neurosurgeons and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons.

    “I’m delighted to join YRMC PhysicianCare and YRMC,” he said. “The staff is very impressive. They know how to care for critically ill patients. They also were very eager to begin a neurosurgical program. With that kind of enthusiasm, there was no question about whether or not I would join the team.”

    Dr. Thomas—an expert on solutions to chronic back pain and cranial procedures—is a sought-after speaker for national medical conferences. He also publishes extensively in professional journals. One of his most prized recognitions, however, came in 2010 when he was selected as a “Top Doc” by Phoenix Magazine.

    “The ‘Top Docs’ are selected by a vote of physicians, your peers,” he said. “That was quite an honor to me.”

    Originally from Canada, Dr. Thomas received his medical degree from the University of Calgary. He pursued an internship at Edmonton General Hospital in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and a residency in neurosurgery from Foothills Hospital in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

    When he re-located his neurosurgical practice to the Quad Cities, Dr. Thomas’ wellestablished team joined him.

    “This was a group decision,” he said. “My core staff members and our families collaborated on the decision. In the end, the answer was a unanimous and enthusiastic yes!”

    That core staff includes physician assistant Jeremy Platt, PA, PA-C.

    “The addition of Dr. Thomas and his team is a boost to our entire community,” said Tim Barnett, President and CEO of Yavapai Regional Medical Center. “He brings extraordinary experience and also expands the scope of medical specialties available to the people of the Quad Cities.”

    Dr. Thomas may be reached at:
    YRMC PhysicianCare
    820 E. Ainsworth Drive, Suite B
    Prescott, AZ 86301

    When he is not caring for patients, Dr. Thomas likes to mountain bike on nearby trails.

    “Even before we moved to the area, we visited nearly every weekend. This is such a welcoming community. It’s a joy to call it home now.”

  • Lymphedema Program at YRMC

    by Community Outreach and Philanthropy, (928) 771-5686, released October 13, 2011 | Jan 03, 2014

    Lymphedema Program at YRMC Helps
    Breast Cancer Survivors Cope with the Aftermath

    Susan G. Komen for the Cure Grant Reaches Low & Middle Income Women

    Diane Bauer and Jeanne Hines have a powerful bond, even though they have never met. The two Quad City residents are breast cancer survivors who struggle with lymphedema. Both women have found relief through The Lymphedema Management Program at Yavapai Regional Medical Center (YRMC).

    “Unless you have experienced lymphedema,” said Bauer, “it’s hard to understand its impact.”

    Lymphedema is a side effect of cancer treatment that approximately 25 percent of breast cancer survivors experience. Its first signs may be as inconsequential as a heavy feeling in an extremity, a ring that seems tight, or even a watchband that doesn’t rest properly on the wrist. Initially, the swelling subsides at night but within weeks or months it becomes chronic and more intense. For some with lymphedema, the affected area can expand to several times its normal size. Lymphedema can limit mobility and affect how people feel about themselves.

    “My arm began to get larger, especially the upper arm, and it was painful,” recalled Hines. “It felt like it was tearing on the inside. My hand began to swell, too. We called it my fat baby hand because it was chubby like an infant’s hand.”

    That was in 2001, several years after Hines had undergone treatment for breast cancer. Bauer’s initial experience with lymphedema was different, but the results were similar. Her arm began to swell “fast and huge” when she began radiation therapy for breast cancer in April.

    “I had never heard of lymphedema,” Bauer said. “I learned that it was something that could be treated but that it would always be with me, which is sad.”

    Today, both women work every day to control their lymphedema. Thanks to The Lymphedema Management Program at YRMC—and a grant from Susan G. Komen Phoenix Affiliate—they have the knowledge and tools necessary to control their lymphedema. The tools are custom compression bandages and garments that are provided through a grant that YRMC received from Susan G. Komen Phoenix Affiliate this year. The grant targets low and middleincome women suffering from breast cancer-related lymphedema.

    A Phased Approach to Treating Lymphedema

    Donna Hannah, OTR/L, CLT-LANA, leads The Lymphedema Management Program at YRMC. Hannah is the only lymphedema therapist serving Yavapai County and one of eight in Arizona. Hannah—an occupational therapist who is certified by the Lymphology Association of North America (LANA)—has reached the highest level of accreditation in this specialized area. She sees firsthand the impact of lymphedema on breast cancer survivors.

    “At first, they wonder if their cancer has returned and the whole experience of breast cancer tumbles back on them,” she said. “In the beginning, we talk about how lymphedema is a chronic condition, but one that can be controlled. Once they understand they can control lymphedema, we get to work.”

    That work includes two major treatment phases, which typically last a total of four to six weeks or 16-20 visits. During the first phase, Hannah evaluates the patient’s condition and develops an individualized treatment plan. Plans may incorporate:

    • Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD)—Lymphedema patients undergo intense manual lymphatic drainage, which Hannah teaches them so they can continue the practice after their treatment concludes. MLD is a massage technique that helps open working lymph nodes so they can help drain the affected areas. According to the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, combined with other therapies, MLD can reduce fluid up to 73 percent in breast cancer patients.
    • Compression Therapy—Bandaging the affected area after an MLD session also reduces lymphedema swelling. Hannah instructs women on how to apply short-stretch compression bandages during the first phase of treatment.
    • Exercises—Hannah works with patients on exercises that promote lymphatic flow and reduce swelling.
    • Skin Care—Keeping the skin clean and moisturized and preventing trauma, such as cuts and scrapes, can lessen the chances of skin infection that can cause lymphedema to get out of control.

    According to both Bauer and Hines, Hannah goes beyond the mechanics of treating lymphedema to help support and encourage patients.

    "Donna has so much training and experience," Hines said. ¡§She¡¦s also incredibly compassionate. She helped calm me when I needed it."

    Hannah is committed to educating patients about lymphedema so they can recognize it and seek early treatment. Lymphedema, for example, has stages:

    • Stage l -- The area (arm, hand or leg) is swollen and feels heavy. Pressing on the swollen area may leave a dent.
    • Stage II -- The limb is swollen and feels spongy. A condition called tissue fibrosis may develop and cause the limb to feel hard. Pressing on the swollen area does not leave a dent in this stage of lymphedema.
    • Stage II -- In this advanced stage, the swollen extremity may drain lymphatic fluid, in addition to the other symptoms outlined in the earlier stage.

    I work with patients to set goals," Hannah said. "One patient with advanced lymphedema said, "I have not been able to reach over my head for 20 years. I want to be able to screw in a light bulb.' We got her there."

    During the second treatment phase, treatment in the clinic is less frequent as patients are now more independent and capable of in-home maintenance, such as self-administered MLD and exercise. They also graduate from using only compression bandages to wearing a compression garment during the day. For some patients, Hannah may recommend separate day and night-time compression garments. Ideally, these are custom-made for the patient.

    "By phase two, patients should be getting back to their normal activities," she said. "If they like to make pottery or lift weights, we ramp up slowly to monitor what their systems will take."

    Support from Susan G. Komen Phoenix Affiliate

    For patients like Bauer and Hines, the Susan G. Komen Phoenix Affiliate grant provides customized bandages and garments, which health insurance typically does not cover. Customized garments can cost as much as $1,200. Hines, for example, has a customized sleeve ($200), a nighttime garment ($700) and a compression glove ($150) for a total cost of $1,050.

    "When you live with lymphedema, infections are very scary. I am so grateful that Susan G. Komen has allowed me to get the garments I need to stay healthy and avoid infection. I never could have afforded to buy customized bandages and garments," Hines said.

    The Susan G. Komen Phoenix Affiliate grant will help approximately 18 patients purchase customized garments and also allow YRMC to purchase educational materials on lymphedema.

    “YRMC is very committed to building awareness about lymphedema and encouraging early treatment,” said Peter Brennan, director of philanthropy at YRMC. “With the support of Susan G. Komen Phoenix Affiliate, we know we can make a difference to women struggling with lymphedema.”

    YRMC’s Lymphedema Support Group

    Hannah founded a Lymphedema Support Group to provide information and allow lymphedema patients to learn from one another. Support group members range in age from 40 to over 70, but the common bond is their commitment to managing their lymphedema.

    The approximately 20 regular attendees at the monthly Lymphedema Support Group meetings hear presentations from medical experts: genetic oncologists, dietitians and other healthcare professionals. They also spend time sharing information.“

    Those women will take a new support group member by the hand and tell her to listen to Donna and work hard,” Hannah said. “They understand what it feels like and know what needs to be done to control it.”

    Lymphedema management is a way of life for both Bauer and Hines. When asked what advice she would give breast cancer survivors in the community experiencing the early signs of lymphedema, Bauer said, “Run, don’t walk, to your doctor and get a referral to The Lymphedema Management Program at YRMC.”

  • Top Arizona Nurse Leader Joins YRMC

    by Community Outreach and Philanthropy, (928) 771-5686 | Jan 03, 2014

    Diane Drexler, RN, BSN, MBA, FACHE, Takes Chief Nursing Officer Post

    Growing up, Diane Drexler considered the idea of a nursing career. However, it was while observing the nurses who cared for a critically ill high school classmate that she decided to pursue the profession.

    “When I visited my friend,” she said, “I was always impressed by the nurses who cared for her. I thought, ‘That’s what I want to do with my life.’”

    Drexler understood then that she wanted to help people through illness and provide support to their family members and friends. She’s been doing that for more than 20 years, first as a caregiver and then in management and executive-level positions. In April, Drexler joined Yavapai Regional Medical Center (YRMC) as its new Chief Nursing Officer (CNO), the hospital’s top nurse executive in charge of patient care services on both campuses.

    “What has impressed me most is that everyone at YRMC—from staff members to board members—embraces the hospital’s mission,” Drexler said. “It’s more than a plaque on a wall; everyone is completely committed to it. I am thrilled and grateful for the opportunity to be part of this organization and community.” Before joining YRMC, Drexler served as Vice President of Patient Care Services for Cancer Treatment Centers of America at Western Regional Medical Center (WRMC). She helped open the hospital, located in Goodyear, Arizona, in 2008. Drexler also launched WRMC’s “acuity adaptable unit,” the first such licensed unit in the state. The acuity adaptable unit design allows patients to remain in the same room throughout their hospitalization.

    Drexler’s nursing experience also includes 15 years at Banner Health in the Phoenix area. In her most recent position at Banner, she was CNO of Banner Estrella Medical Center in Phoenix. Again, she undertook the job of opening the hospital, which in 2005 was among the nation’s first to introduce both an Electronic Medical Record (EMR) and Computerized Physician Order Entry (CPOE) system.

    According to Tim Barnett, YRMC’s President and CEO, Drexler’s experience will be an asset to the hospital and community.

    “She’s the right person at the right time,” Barnett said. “With the BreastCare Center at YRMC ready to open this fall and the transition to EMR that the federal government is requiring of hospitals, Diane’s knowledge and experience will be invaluable. Even more important, Diane is devoted to the nursing profession and a true advocate of patients. We are very fortunate to have her on our team.”

    Drexler also is pleased to be part of the YRMC team. A successful nurse leader, she said, listens and develops relationships throughout the organization. However, as a nurse, she never forgets the most important relationships are with patients.

    “I enjoy listening and talking to patients. I love hearing how we as nurses make an impact on their lives and how we can improve,” she said.

    Drexler is a firm believer in both lifelong learning and sharing her professional knowledge. She earned a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Nursing from the University of New Mexico at Albuquerque and a Master’s of Business Administration from Arizona State University West.

    Drexler is a graduate of the Wharton Fellows Nurse Executive Leadership Program and she was also selected for the prestigious Robert Wood Johnson (RWJ) Foundation Executive Nurse Fellows program. Only 20 nurse leaders from throughout the country participate in this program each grant cycle. RWJ selects nurses who aspire to help lead and shape the U.S. healthcare system. Additionally, Drexler earned board certification in healthcare management as a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (FACHE). She has published many articles in nursing journals.

    “I believe that if I have done something from which others can learn, I want to share my lesson learned,” she said.

    Drexler and her family—her husband and two children—are enjoying the people of Prescott and the beauty of the area.

    “For the first time, I know my neighbors and they know me,” she said. “We love to hike and kayak so we feel like it’s all at our back door now. It’s the best of all worlds.”

  • YRMC Earns Radiology Accreditation

    by Community Outreach and Philanthropy, (928) 771-5686 | Jan 03, 2014

    American College of Radiology Awards
    YRMC Imaging Services Prestigious Accreditation

    Yavapai Regional Medical Center’s (YRMC’s) Imaging Services has earned accreditation from the American College of Radiology (ACR). Known as the ACR Gold Standard of Accreditation, the gold seal signifies that the hospital has voluntarily pursued a rigorous review to ensure its radiology program meets or exceeds national standards.

    “It’s difficult for patients to evaluate the quality of their MRI study, CT scan or other imaging studies or treatments,” said Mary Sterling, Director of YRMC’s Imaging Services. “With ACR accreditation, they are assured that the hospital’s radiologists and technologists as well as its medical equipment have been judged by a third-party to meet the highest quality standards for performance and safety.”

    Unlike many other organizations, YRMC pursued and earned ACR accreditation of its entire Imaging Services program at the same time, including:

    • CT (Computed Tomography)
    • Mammography
    • MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging)
    • Nuclear Medicine
    • Ultrasound

    These services—available at YRMC West in Prescott and YRMC East in Prescott Valley—will be ACR accredited for three years, along with radiology services delivered at YRMC Del E. Webb Outpatient Center in Prescott Valley. YRMC Imaging Services also earned > accreditation in CT for pediatric imaging, demonstrating its commitment to providing pediatric patients with the safest imaging procedures possible.

    “I’m proud, but not surprised, that YRMC’s Imaging Services earned ACR accreditation,” said Tim Barnett, YRMC President and CEO. “YRMC’s Imaging Services team is well known for its commitment to high quality imaging and safe services.”

    According to the ACR, accreditation indicates that YRMC’s Imaging Services program meets or exceeds quality assurance and safety guidelines. Additionally, the Imaging Services program includes:

    • Personnel who are well qualified—through education and certification—to perform and interpret medical images; and
    • Medical equipment that is appropriate for testing and treatment.

    For more information about YRMC’s Imaging Services contact (928) 771-5140. To schedule an exam, contact YRMC’s Central Scheduling at (928) 759-5860.

  • New Electronic Medical Record Now in Use at YRMC

    by Community Outreach and Philanthropy, (928) 771-5686, released June 28, 2012 | Dec 27, 2013

    Same Personalized Patient Care, Now with Added Ease, Efficiency and Collaboration

    Patients at Yavapai Regional Medical Center (YRMC) will notice something a little different about the personalized care they receive during their next hospital visits. That’s because YRMC has implemented a new state-of-the-art Electronic Medical Record (EMR) system – called Project CARE. High tech meets high touch with this secure high speed medical record network that gives YRMC caregivers quick access to patient medical information from anywhere within YRMC’s hospital locations in Prescott and Prescott Valley.

    Paper charts are now a thing of the past at YRMC as caregivers use a variety of sophisticated tools that range from mobile computing carts and wall mount systems to digital scanners to support the personalized care they provide to patients. These computing devices link YRMC caregivers with patient medical records via a highly secure data center that uses encryption and other sophisticated safeguards to protect patient information.

    “Project CARE is consistent with our Vision of a Total Healing Environment,” says YRMC President and CEO Tim Barnett. “Patients will always receive the personalized, one-to-one care they depend on, but now with the added assurance that their medical records are always up-to-date and right where our caregivers need them, when they need them,” states Barnett.

    Project CARE supports great patient care.

    Providing patients with advanced healthcare will always be the primary motivation at YRMC. Project CARE is a great example of this commitment. “Everything we do at YRMC is guided by our Vision and Values,” states Barnett. “We carefully evaluate every opportunity and we always ask ourselves if it’s the very best thing we can do for our patients. In the case of an EMR, we are positive that it’s the right thing to do.”

    YRMC’s new EMR – when combined with the personal touch of caregivers at the bedside – creates a new level of communication, safety and sharing.

    • With the new EMR, patient medical records are more complete so patients won’t have to answer the same questions again and again.
    • As caregivers spend less time charting, they will have more time to do what they do best – provide great patient care.
    • Because the medical records are digital, it won’t be necessary to decipher handwriting.
    • Test results are available in real-time.
    • Caregivers can immediately check for drug-to-drug and drug allergy interactions.
    • Accuracy is increased on all levels. From prescriptions that are sent to the pharmacy, to orders for tests and other procedures, to special dietary restrictions– information will be transmitted faster and more clearly than ever before.

    Big project. Big rewards.

    The launch of Project CARE is the result of over two years of careful planning and research that involved hundreds of dedicated YRMC staff members. Considerable improvements were made to YRMC’s information systems, workflows were enhanced, and extensive training programs were designed to prepare YRMC staff to use the new tools.

    “Our caregivers will now utilize the latest information technology rather than a paper chart when providing care to their patients,” says YRMC Chief Nursing Officer Diane Drexler, RN, BSN, MBA, FACHE. “An EMR won’t replace critical thinking skills however – it’s an adjunct to our training and education that provides real-time access to patient information right at our fingertips.” With paper charting, only one caregiver at a time can look at a patient’s medical record.

    With the new EMR, multiple YRMC caregivers can view a patient’s medical chart—from physician orders to vital signs, x-rays and test results—at the same time, from different locations. This is particularly important in emergency situations when seconds count.

  • YRMC’s Emergency Department Introduces Guidelines to Reduce Prescription Drug Abuse

    by Community Outreach and Philanthropy, (928) 771-5686, released November 15, 2012 | Dec 27, 2013

    Yavapai Regional Medical Center’s (YRMC’s) Emergency Department (ED) implemented new guidelines for prescribing controlled substances on October 1. The new guidelines—developed to address prescription medication abuse—mirror the efforts of other Arizona hospital EDs and are part of a broader partnership with MATFORCE, a coalition dedicated to reducing substance abuse in Yavapai County.

    “As caregivers, we’re extremely concerned about prescription drug abuse in our county, state and nation,” said Diane Drexler, RN, Chief Nursing Officer, YRMC. “These guidelines allow YRMC to provide the best care possible to all of our Emergency Department patients.”

    The guidelines—developed by a team of YRMC ED physicians, nurses, social workers and administrative leaders in partnership with MATFORCE representatives demonstrate great concern for the health of the community, according to Sheila Polk, Yavapai County Attorney.

    “It takes an entire community to address substance abuse issues. I admire, support and am so proud that YRMC stepped forward to be part of a solution that is truly going to make a huge difference,” Polk said.

    YRMC’s new guidelines incorporate the following standards of care:

    • Prescriptions for opioids (narcotics) to treat patients with chronic pain should come from a single provider. This means that YRMC’s ED will not prescribe narcotic pain medication after a patient’s initial ED visit or if the patient has received narcotic medications from another physician or ED.
    • YRMC’s ED discourages giving opioids in intravenous (IV) form or as shots for acute pain. Shots to alleviate chronic pain are not given through the ED. YRMC’s ED does not prescribe Schedule 2 Controlled Substances for chronic pain as these medications are linked most frequently to abuse and addiction.
    • Long-acting or controlled-release opioids, such as OxyContin, fentanyl patches or methadone, are not prescribed by YRMC’s ED. Methadone doses for people in methadone treatment programs are not administered by YRMC’s ED.
    • Patients given prescriptions for controlled substances from YRMC’s ED may be asked to show a government-issued photo ID, like a driver’s license, at the hospital’s pharmacy. In order to track prescriptions for controlled substances, people who don’t have an official photo ID may be photographed for their medical record.
    • YRMC does not refill stolen or lost prescriptions for narcotics or controlled substances.
    • In keeping with the law and best medical practices, YRMC’s ED requests a patient’s medical records when providing treatment and also shares information about treatment administered in the ED with the patient’s physician or physicians.
    • YRMC’s ED will establish care plans for frequent ED patients, which may include recommended strategies for avoiding medications associated with abuse or addiction.

    According to Drexler, these new guidelines allow YRMC’s ED to maintain its unique and essential role in the community.

    “Emergency departments are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” Drexler said. “They care for people facing the unexpected: the passengers injured in a car crash…the person who suffers a heart attack while jogging…the child who fractures his arm while playing at the park. We believe these guidelines for prescribing controlled substances allow us to continue fulfilling that important role and encourage people with chronic pain to work with the appropriate medical professionals to address their long-term health challenges.”

    The Arizona Substance Abuse Partnership (ASAP) reported that more than 11 percent of Arizona adults surveyed said they had used prescription drugs without a doctor’s consent in 2010. Almost half of those had misused prescription drugs in the previous 12 months and 13 percent reported misuse in the past 30 days.

  • Ready, Set, Grow! YRMC East Emergency Department Expansion Project

    by Community Outreach and Philanthropy, (928) 771-5686, released January 24, 2013 | Dec 27, 2013

    A recent expansion of the Emergency Department (ED) at YRMC East in Prescott Valley increases space, enhances efficiency and improves privacy.

    “These are excellent improvements,” said Irene Connor, RN, Director, Emergency Department at YRMC East. “They’re good for our patients and their families.”

    When it’s completed, the expansion project—launched in early 2012—will increase the ED from 17 to a total of 24 beds and will feature:

    • six fully equipped fast-track rooms for patients with less serious illnesses and injuries (e.g., sore throats, ankle sprains and eye infections);
    • five critical care rooms, one of which functions as a trauma room and may be used for emergency procedures and surgeries;
    • an X-ray viewing station in the trauma room that allows the physician to view images without leaving the trauma room;
    • beds that help prevent pressure sores as well as allow patients to be weighed in bed rather than moving to a scale;
    • a second triage area that will decrease waits during busy ED times; and a new point-of-care testing area for rapid exam results, such as throat swabs, that are ready when the patient is examined.

    Other changes to the ED focus on patient convenience and comfort. A new entrance will allow visitors to access the ED from inside the hospital. A garden area near the current ED main entrance will give visitors a pleasant retreat. Additionally, a children’s waiting area is planned for families with youngsters.

    “We know that the surrounding environment is very important to helping relax patients,” said Connor.

    The expanded YRMC East ED will feature warm Arizona colors and soothing music to create a calm, comfortable environment for patients and other visitors.

  • YRMC’s Family Birthing Center Earns Level II Nursery Certification

    by Community Outreach and Philanthropy, (928) 771-5686, released February 11, 2013 | Dec 27, 2013

    High Risk Newborns and their Families Stay in the Community

    Yavapai Regional Medical Center’s (YRMC’s) Family Birthing Center is now certified by the Arizona Perinatal Trust (APT) to care for high-risk newborns and their mothers.

    “This is a milestone for our community,” said Diane Drexler, RN, YRMC’s Chief Nursing Officer. “It means many babies born early will no longer be transported to other Arizona communities. They will stay with their moms and receive high-level care right here.”

    YRMC’s Family Birthing Center—licensed as a Level II Continuing Care Nursery by the Arizona Department of Health Services—is now delivering and caring for babies born at 34 weeks or greater. By January 2014, babies born 32 weeks or greater will be delivered and cared for at the YRMC Family Birthing Center.

    Normal gestation is 38 to 40 weeks. According to the March of Dimes, approximately 12,000 babies a year are born prematurely in Arizona.

    “Receiving and maintaining certification for the Family Birthing Center through the APT demonstrates that YRMC is committed to providing safe, efficient and effective patient care,” said Connie Buckner, RN, Director, The Family Birthing Center at YRMC.

    APT certification brings together Level II Continuing Care Nurseries like YRMC’s to:

    • maintain certain standards of care for mothers and babies;
    • participate in statewide efforts to benchmark perinatal units; and
    • work collaboratively with Arizona’s regionalized perinatal healthcare system.

    The Family Birthing Center at YRMC East in Prescott Valley was designed and constructed from the beginning to care for premature infants. The Center, which opened May 26, 2010, followed Arizona Department of Health Services requirements that specify, for example, the amount of space between each baby in the nursery.

    After its opening, YRMC’s Family Birthing Center nurses, obstetricians and pediatricians immediately began working together to achieve Level II Perinatal certification. The Center’s registered nurses were cross trained on all aspects of neonatal care, including, for example, how to provide supplemental oxygen, prevent infections, administer medications and manage feeding tubes.

    Additionally, the nurses participated in a rigorous series of classroom courses conducted by YRMC’s neonatal nurse practitioner. The Center’s nurses and YRMC respiratory therapists also pursued on-site training in the neonatal unit of another hospital.

    “The Family Birthing Center’s staff has been working toward this for a long time. Our first high-risk delivery since the new certification went very well,” Drexler said. “Our team was ecstatic. The newborn did great and so did the baby’s mother. Our entire hospital is proud of this achievement. It’s so important to families in our community.”

  • YRMC Caregivers Learn Crucial Skills in Simulator Lab

    by Community Outreach and Philanthropy, (928) 771-5686, releasted February 14, 2013 | Dec 27, 2013

    State of Arizona Grant Supports Stroke Education at YRMC

    Early recognition and rapid response to stroke are the goals of a clinician training program sponsored by Yavapai Regional Medical Center (YRMC). Nearly 270 YRMC registered nurses as well as occupational, physical, respiratory and speech therapists participated in the SimSuite Stroke Simulation Training Program January 7-18. The program featured a wireless patient simulator called the Laerdal SimMan® that replicated possible scenarios associated with stroke in a lab setting as well as classroom-setting workshops.

    “Stroke symptoms can be very subtle,” said Diane Drexler, RN, YRMC Chief Nursing Officer. “Because of the SimSuite training, YRMC’s clinicians are more acutely aware of the signs and symptoms of stroke. With this training, they can intervene earlier, which will save lives and help limit disability due to stroke.”

    In the simulation laboratory, YRMC clinicians worked in teams of approximately six on a series of scenarios. This experience allowed caregivers to practice identifying and treating stroke patients as well as patients with signs and symptoms that mimic stroke. In addition to the simulation laboratory, the SimSuite training included a learning module with a pre-and post-test. The program’s curriculum is based on the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association “Get With the Guidelines Program: Target Stroke.”

    “This is a very effective way of learning in healthcare,” said Drexler. “Every patient is different and the classroom learning combined with the hands-on experience in the lab builds the critical thinking skills necessary to care effectively for patients.”

    YRMC occupational, physical, speech and respiratory therapists also learned advanced stroke rehabilitation techniques as part of the training. The therapists participated in two-day, hands-on seminars, which took place in December 2012 and January 2013.

    Ellen Benson, YRMC’s Director of Education and Organizational Development, said the training allowed YRMC to increase the skills of its caregivers and improve healthcare for the community. “By training so many clinicians at the same time, we ensure continuity of care,” she said.

    The SimSuite Stroke Simulation Training Program was funded in part by an Arizona Job Training Program Grant from the Arizona Commerce Authority. The grant supports Arizona employers seeking to increase the skills of their employees.

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one American dies from stroke every four minutes. Each year, more than 795,000 people in the U.S. suffer strokes.