Hospital CEOs, emergency department leaders gather for training in Shelbyville

More than 40 hospital CEOs and emergency department (ED) leaders from critical access hospitals (CAHs) and other rural hospitals across the state met in Shelbyville on August 9-10 to learn about ways to improve ED processes.

The two-day conference, called the Kentucky Critical Access Hospital – Excellence in Emergency Care Conference, featured interactive sessions on topics ranging from operations efficiency and opioid abuse challenges to ED culture and quality. Conference participants learned about ways to improve institutional data collection and analysis, as well as ways to provide better and more efficient care to patients.

Presenters included Stephanie Baker and Dr. Dan Smith, both from the Studer Group, one of the country’s leading outcomes-based health care performance improvement firms; Nancy Galvagni, the senior vice president of the Kentucky Hospital Association; and, Pat Teske, an implementation officer at Cynosure Health, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving health care at the local, regional and national level.

Conference attendees came from ARH Our Lady of the Way Hospital, Baptist Health Corbin, Barbourville ARH Hospital, Breckinridge Memorial Hospital, Carroll County Memorial Hospital, Casey County Hospital, Ephraim McDowell Fort Logan Hospital, Harlan ARH Hospital, Jewish Hospital Shelbyville, Livingston Hospital & Healthcare Services, Marcum & Wallace Memorial Hospital, Marshall County Hospital, Middlesboro ARH Hospital, Ohio County Hospital, Rockcastle Regional Hospital & Respiratory Center, Russell County Hospital, Saint Joseph Berea, St. Elizabeth Grant, The Medical Center at Albany, The Medical Center at Franklin, The Medical Center at Scottsville, and Wayne County Hospital.

The event was sponsored by the Kentucky Office of Rural Health (KORH) in partnership with the Kentucky Hospital Association, and the Kentucky Hospital Research and Foundation, Inc., and was the latest of the events planned as part of the KORH-led Critical Access Substance Abuse Project (CASAP).

The one-year project, funded through the Health Resources & Services Administration’s Federal Office of Rural Health Policy, seeks to address substance-abuse issues and concerns at the hospital and community level through education and working to improve patient access to treatment options. The project also tries to better link the participating hospitals with their surrounding communities so that both can work together to meet the needs of their patients with substance-use disorders.

KORH Director Ernie Scott said the conference was a unique opportunity to bring a mix of regional and national speakers to Kentucky.

“To be able to bring speakers like Stephanie Baker and Dan Smith from the Studer Group, Nancy Galvagni from the Kentucky Hospital Association, and Pam Teske from Cynosure Health together in one setting is exciting,” Scott said. “They are top-notch, speakers and coaches in the area of improving health care performance. To have them share their knowledge and expertise — the best practices, strategies and tools being used by emergency departments across the country — with our hospital partners is truly priceless. ”

Rural Project Manager Kayla Combs, the director of the KORH’s Rural Hospital Flexibility Program and the staff member who oversees the CASAP, called the two-day event “invigorating.”

“Our four speakers demonstrated a great amount of passion for improving hospital emergency departments and enhancing the patient experience,” she said. “And, that passion was infectious. I think everyone left the conference feeling more informed and more engaged.”

The critical access hospitals participating in the CASAP include ARH Our Lady of the Way, Barbourville ARH Hospital, Ephraim McDowell Fort Logan Hospital, Marcum and Wallace Memorial Hospital, Mary Breckinridge ARH Hospital, McDowell ARH Hospital, Morgan County ARH Hospital, Ohio County Hospital, Russell County Hospital and Wayne County Hospital.

The Kentucky Office of Rural Health (KORH), established in 1991, is a federal-state partnership authorized by federal legislation. The UK Center of Excellence in Rural Health (located in Hazard) serves as the federally-designated Kentucky Office of Rural Health. The mission of the KORH is to support the health and well-being of Kentuckians by promoting access to rural health services. The program provides a framework for linking small rural communities with local, state and federal resources while working toward long-term solutions to rural health issues. The KORH assists clinicians, administrators and consumers in finding ways to improve communications, finances and access to quality healthcare while ensuring that funding agencies and policymakers are made aware of the needs of rural communities.

MEDIA CONTACT: Michael McGill, 606-439-3557,