Craig Becker, president of the Tennessee Hospital Association, spoke to Belmont faculty and students last week about the future of the healthcare industry, focusing his remarks on the new changes that will be brought about by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
While he realizes that the healthcare industry is about to undergo radical change, he does not fear those changes. “I really am an optimist,” he stated. “And I’m invigorated by chaos. Chaos brings change.”
In the past, he argued that the existing system was not perfect, that there were quality of care issues. The new legislation will force the industry to address these issues sooner rather than later. “Hospitals will be forced to look outside of their four walls.”
He predicts that within the next several years, Tennessee will see a significant decline in its number of hospitals. At present, there are 154 in the state of Tennessee; approximately, 70 to 77 of those are rural hospitals. Becker believes that in five to ten years, there will be only 90 hospitals statewide. Rural hospitals will have to actively seek partnerships with the larger organizations.
In many parts of the state, the rural hospitals are centers of community. Closing them poses a challenge as is it will draw a lot of community resistance, he explained. However, he believes that there is a silver lining. “With this change comes a move away from fee-for-service,” he said.
The School of Physical Therapy at Belmont University has joined with the Pi Beta Phi Rehabilitation Institute (PBPRI) in the Vanderbilt Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences to initiate a Neurological Physical Therapy Clinical Residency.
PBPRI is the outpatient interdisciplinary neurological rehabilitation program at Vanderbilt University Medical Center where physical therapists work in teams with colleagues in occupational therapy, speech-language pathology and social work to promote community re-entry and vocational and/or academic transitioning. The one-year residency is offered through the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) and is the first of its kindin Tennessee. The program is designed to prepare the resident to treat patients with neurological conditions using contemporary, evidenced-based treatment approaches and provide the skills and experience needed to sit for the Neurological Clinical Specialist (NCS) certification exam with APTA.
“We are very excited about this new partnership,” said Mike de Riesthal, director of PBPRI. “Education of new clinicians is one of our primary missions. Partnering with Belmont’s excellent program allows us to expand that mission into the field of physical therapy.”
Christina Durrough has been selected as the inaugural resident in the joint venture and will begin her work this August. The residency requires direct clinical care each week at PBPRI where Durrough will receive mentoring and instruction to evaluate and treat patients with acquired brain injury and other neurological conditions including stroke, traumatic brain injury, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, brain tumors and balance disorders. The Clinical Residency Director for the program is Lisa Haack, who is a clinical staff member in physical therapy at PBPRI and is a neurologic specialist. Renee Brown, professor of physical therapy at Belmont University, will serve as the academic residency director. (more…)
Last month a group of Belmont faculty, staff and students took the opportunity to bring their skills and expertise “from here to Haiti.” On July 18, the group left Nashville for a week-long mission trip to Grand Goave, one of Haiti’s oldest cities, which suffered significant damage in the 2010 earthquake in that region. The trip evolved out of a task force created by the provost; Belmont has recently developed a partnership with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, which has a mission project in Haiti. This nursing trip was the first to take advantage of this partnership. In the future, the interdisciplinary task force hopes to organize trips for students in several other programs. One education-based trip is already slated for later this month.Each day, the group was woken up by a rooster—lovingly nicknamed “El Diablo”—at approximately 3:30 a.m. “That bird was the bane of our existence,” claimed Assistant Professor of Nursing Sara Camp. They would then—after languishing in the heat for several more hours—meet with their contact, Judy, who is also a registered nurse and represents the Christian Baptist Fellowship.
The nursing students volunteered at a number of mobile clinics, which provided basic services such as vital sign checks and general diagnoses. Each clinic was able to see up to 50 people a day, and each day the staff and students quickly met their capacity. “This is their healthcare,” said Nursing Instructor Martha Ezell. “They can’t just go into Port Au Prince to see a doctor.”At the mobile clinics, the students checked vitals and compiled patients’ medical histories—a difficult task since many patients did not even know their own birthdays. The Belmont students were also able to assist Ezell and Camp with general assessments and distribute what medications were available. “[The Belmont students] got about a year’s worth of nursing in a week,” stated Ezell. (more…)
Twelve students from Belmont recently spent three weeks in Geneva, Switzerland and the area around the city in a unique study abroad experience full of firsts. It was Belmont’s first study abroad to the city of Geneva, the first for a nursing clinical course, and the first for a shared educational experience with some students enrolled in community health nursing and others in a humanities course. The courses included a shared study of the book Frankenstein as Geneva is the setting for much of this classic’s action, The students had a first-hand opportunity to explore the book from literary, philosophical, historical, psychological and public health points of view. The courses were taught by Professor of English and French John Paine and Associate Professor of Nursing Ruby Dunlap.
The group visited the International Federation of the Red Cross, which focuses on humanitarian, disaster and health initiatives, where they listened to presentations on the health implications of safe water and sanitation, and on training and education in public health. Later, the class spent a couple of hours at the World Health Organization, listening to presentations on the global efforts to reduce hospital acquired infections and on issues related to the global shortage of nurses and midwives.
The group learned that the Geneva of Jean Calvin’s time was a city of refugees, people fleeing persecution of one kind or another. Today, Geneva is a center of international cooperation, with headquarters for the United Nations and some of its divisions, as well as agencies such as the Red Cross and the International Council of Nurses.
The class visited many historical and cultural sites such as Chamonix, a village in the French Alps which sits in the valley below the “Glace de Mer,” the largest glacier in France. Other highlights included visits to Chillon Castle and the Lausanne Cathedral; a trip to CERN, Europe’s atomic particle accelerator, which provided the setting for our disaster response discussion; and the Museum of Natural History with an exhibit on malaria that provided the perfect opportunity for an onsite discussion of infectious disease and vulnerable populations. The group learned that Geneva is a unique city in history, culture, and agencies which serve the interests of the global community.
Earlier this week, more than 200 Belmont University health science students and faculty attended a panel discussion in Neely Dining Room on “Emerging Issues and Hot Topics in Acute Care” presented by health professionals from Community Health Systems and sponsored by the Gordon E. Inman College of Health Sciences & Nursing. The discussion provided students with information about practice changes and new career paths that are developing because of the changes occurring nationally in acute care.
“This was an exceptional opportunity for our students to ask questions and interact with practicing healthcare professionals to learn about the workplace they will soon enter,” said Dr. Cathy Taylor, Dean of the College of Health Sciences.