UMH Recognizes National Rural Health Day-Nov.15

Uvalde Memorial Hospital is proud to recognize the innovation, quality of care, and dedication of health professionals and volunteers during National Rural Health Day (NRHD) 2018. National Rural Health Day falls on the third Thursday in November each year and recognizes the efforts of those serving the health needs of over 60 million people across the nation.

The hospital kicked off the week with their second “Walk With a Doc” hosted by Dr. Shawn Ragbir at Uvalde Memorial Park last Saturday, November 10. Dr. Ragbir is a board certified cardiologist with Methodist Cardiology Clinic of San Antonio and offices full-time in Uvalde. The walk, which is hosted every other month, is open to community members and starts with a brief gathering to cover a health topic and then a 3—60 minute walk. This week guest speaker Dr. Erika Garcia spoke to the group about portion control and healthy eating.

UMH also celebrates the dedication of rural healthcare professionals this week with emergency room nurse Scott Reavis, RN being named as an honoree for the Best 25 Nurses of South Central Texas. Recognized by the South Central Texas Organization of Nurse Executives (SCTONE) who promotes nursing excellence in clinical practice, education, research, and leadership, this competitive award is given to only a select group of nurses for excellence in the art and science of nursing. Reavis will be honored later this week at an event at the Plaza Club in San Antonio on November 17.

NRHD also highlights the quality of care in rural facilities and UMH is proud to celebrate multiple recent achievements centered on the care provided by its staff. The hospital was named to Modern Healthcare’s Top 100 Places to Work list in May of 2018 and then recognized at the company’s annual awards banquet in September with a ranking of number 21 on the nation-wide list. In addition, just this week Press Ganey named the hospital as a 2018 Guardian of Excellence Award winner and a 2018 Pinnacle of Excellence Award winner. The hospital works with the group annually to measure employee satisfaction and this year’s awards were received for achieving the 95thpercentile or above in employee engagement and consistently high levels of excellence for the last three years in employee engagement, respectively. Press Ganey is a national company that pioneered the health care performance improvement movement more than 30 years ago and UMH is ranked among facilities of all sizes across the nation to qualify for the awards.

“The hospital’s recent awards and the recognition of Scott from our emergency department are a true testament to the quality of care that we strive to offer our community and patients every single day,” said hospital CEO Tom Nordwick.

As rural health care facilities across Texas struggle to keep their doors open, UMH has even more to celebrate Nordiwick says. The Texas Organization of Rural & Community Hospitals (TORCH) released findings that changes in healthcare are “taking damaging tolls on the ability of Texas rural populations to access health services.” Generally, the report shows, rural hospitals serve older, poorer, and sicker patients. Populations that have significantly higher uninsured rates and large numbers of individuals battling chronic conditions also make healthcare challenging in rural areas and 16 rural facilities have been forced to close their doors in the last 4 years alone.

While UMH has undoubtedly felt the affects of each of these factors, the hospital is a standout amongst its rural hospital peers. The board of directors has been diligent financial stewards to ensure continued success in an uncertain healthcare environment and the hospital’s medical staff and leadership team have worked to make sure top of the line diagnostic technology and equipment is available throughout the facility. While other rural facilities are looking to telemedicine or conversion to a freestanding ER, UMH is in the process of a new building project.

“National Rural Health Day is a great time for us to remember what an incredible asset it is to not only have access to healthcare in a rural setting, but to have access to top of the line care that rivals any big city facility. That’s not something many rural areas in the nation can claim anymore and we are proud to be serving this area,” Nordwick said.