Mercer University School of Medicine and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta select Clinch Memorial Hospital for Pilot Program to Improve Pediatric Health Care
HOMERVILLE, GA., February 24, 2023 − On Wednesday, February 22, Gov. Brian Kemp announced a major initiative launched by Mercer University School of Medicine and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta to improve pediatric health care in rural Georgia. Clinch Memorial was among the eight rural hospitals selected for the initiative’s pilot program.
The affiliation between the School of Medicine and Children’s will be funded by a dedicated and long term sustainable fund of $200 million that the Children’s Board of Trustees allocated in 2022.
Rural hospitals currently have a challenge in their ability to treat and keep pediatric patients in their communities. To better prepare rural hospitals to respond to pediatric patients in the emergency departments, this initiative will assist Clinch Memorial with meeting a set of criteria to be considered “Kid Ready.”
“Children’s has the most pediatric emergency visits of any other children’s hospital in the United States,” said CEO of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Donna Hyland. “So we are going to offer and use that expertise to work with some of the rural hospitals who get kids. We want to make sure that there is the right equipment, the right training, and that we are using the expertise we have to have “kid ready” emergency departments all across our state.”
The Kid Ready Emergency Department project will implement the following objectives:
- Create rural pediatric emergency department network equipped for pediatric emergencies
- Enhance ER staff skills in managing pediatric emergencies
- Develop and implement standard operating procedures and best practices
- Develop and implement a manageable pharmaceutical formulary for rural hospitals
- Implement on-demand telehealth consult program
- Implement robust standard protocols and agreements
“We feel so fortunate and honored to be selected as a hospital in this project’s pilot program,” said Clinch Memorial CEO, Angela Ammons. “Having a pediatric-ready emergency department in Clinch County will allow children from Southeast Georgia to have equal access to excellent pediatric care as children in urban areas of the state. Children and parents alike will greatly benefit as transportation barriers are removed, readmittance rates are decreased, and children are returned home healthy and whole.”
The Executive Committee for the Pediatric Rural Health Alliance is led by Jean Sumner, Dean of Mercer University School of Medicine. Ammons was selected as a member of the Executive Committee and will assist in providing analysis and evaluation of the initiative, as well as planning and making recommendations for future initiatives.
“We could not be more honored and grateful to work with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta to bring support and opportunity for care to the children of Georgia’s rural counties,” Mercer University School of Medicine Dean Dr. Jean Sumner said. “This initiative aligns perfectly with the School of Medicine’s mission to meet the primary care and health needs of rural medically underserved areas of Georgia, to which we are committed. Clinch County has a great hospital, and we are delighted they are willing to take part in this initiative. We look forward to working with rural hospitals, like Clinch Memorial, to enhance care for pediatric patients and adapt emergency departments to become ‘Kid Ready.’”
Photo courtesy of Mercer University.