Muleshoe, Texas (April 8, 2019) – Almost 12,000 clinic visits, and hospital and emergency department admissions are recorded by Muleshoe Area Medical Center (MAMC), Muleshoe Family Medicine (MFM) and Medical Clinic of Muleshoe (MCM) every year according to Dennis Fleenor, hospital administrator.
“Although we treat some patients more than once a year, it is easy to see that the hospital and clinics provide care to a large number of the 7,000 residents of Bailey County,” said Fleenor. “And these numbers do not include the 25,000 physical therapy treatments, lab tests and x-rays, ultrasounds, CT scans and MRI scans ordered for patients,” he added.
Easy access to primary care for community members is due to the clinics operated by the hospital. The physicians and advanced care practitioners who practice at MFM and MCM see as many as 8,500 patients annually. Based on national data, this represents more than 70 percent of community need for primary care.
“I’ve always wanted to be a physician in a smaller community where I could care for patients of all ages, and in all settings,” explained Kenneth Burk, DO, who joined MCM last August. “However availability of clinic services is even more important for older and other vulnerable residents who may have mobility problems or limited access to transportation,” he continued.
Persons age 65 and older represent only 16 percent of the county population, but about 40 percent of MFM and MCM clinic volumes.
Emergency services are critical to patients whose illnesses or injuries require immediate attention. In the case of MAMC, this includes over 3,000 persons who are admitted to the emergency department on an annual basis.
Since 2017, MAMC medical providers have been able to call upon the board certified emergency medicine specialists at UMC Health System, Lubbock, to provide real-time consultation through the UMC telemedicine network. In emergency situations such as stroke, heart attack, trauma or serious injury – where every second counts – these specialists work “virtually” side by side with hospital physicians and advanced practice providers via a network of cameras and monitors installed in the trauma room.
“Telemedicine is invaluable to our community,” said Kristen Neely-Gilbert, APRN. “In life-threatening situations, our collaboration with UMC emergency allows us to rapidly evaluate patients, initiate critical measures to stabilize their conditions, and, if necessary, arrange for timely transfers to a specialized hospital.”
“Some of our community members may be surprised to learn that we also care for a lot of inpatients in acute, observation and swing bed settings,” said Fleenor.
“Our census – the average number of patients lying in our beds – can fluctuate pretty dramatically from day-to-day, month-to-month and even year-to-year,” Fleenor went on to say. “ For example, our average daily census was about 5 in the last three months, but ran as high as 12 patients for several days in January.”
Many inpatients at MAMC are admitted to the Swing Bed Program, established to meet the needs of Medicare patients discharged from Muleshoe or any other hospital following an acute illness, injury or surgery, but who still need time and physical therapy to heal and strengthen before going home.
“We are happy to be able to offer this service to the Medicare patients in our community,” said Tina Greenway, chief nursing officer. “With access to our highly trained nurses and physical therapy staff, this program helps our patients to more safely transition from acute care to home.”
MAMC also has a direct impact on the economy of Bailey County through the employment of more than 90 full-time and part-time staff committed to providing the personalized care that often can only be found in small communities like Muleshoe.
“At a time when many rural hospitals are struggling to stay open, the operations of MAMC continue to improve allowing us to continue to provide area residents with the personalized, hometown healthcare they expect from our hospital and clinics,” said Fleenor.