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NCCH Columns

Accessibility is key in care at NCCH

Ainslee Wittig / NCCH Community Relations

You visit the emergency room with high blood pressure and are admitted to the hospital. Soon you feel much better and you are discharged. Two days later, on Saturday, you have concerns about possible side effects from medication. Your primary care physician can't see you until Monday. Who can afford to go to the emergency room again?

At Northern Cochise Community Hospital, you have another option. And it's free.

You can call your hospitalist -- the doctor who takes care of you while in the hospital -- on his or her local cell phone at any time, day or night, before your primary care appointment, to get advice, alleviate your concern or take other action if needed.

NCCH chose wisely when it hired the Rural Physicians Group (RPG) in January.

Through RPG, a core group of four physicians provides hospital coverage at NCCH. Three of them rotate between NCCH and other rural hospitals, with stays of seven to 10 days each. The fourth, Dr. Hisham Hamam, who has been at NCCH for eight years, remains in Willcox.

"Personally, I didn't see a change when we moved to Rural Physicians Group because I do not rotate to other hospitals. But the requirement (by RPG) to live on-site is advantageous. I like it here and it feels like I work from home. We are very quick to serve patients, even late at night," Hamam said.

With the RPG system, a hospitalist must be available on-site at NCCH 24 hours a day, seven days a week; and living inside the facility, the hospitalist offers quick response time.

Hamam said that Rural Physicians Group hospitalists "enjoy their work in Willcox and want to continue coming to NCCH."

But if a hospitalist had an emergency elsewhere, Rural Physicians Group, by design, also ensures hospitalist coverage at all times.

While local cell phones and in-house availability are a big part of the service for RPG, there is more.

Teamwork is valued at RPG, as hospitalists empower NCCH staff through real-time education, enhancing their skills in caring for more acute patients.

And most importantly, hospitalists work to achieve full patient satisfaction through coordination and continuity of care, from the time the patient is admitted to NCCH to their follow-up with a primary care physician. They also maintain effective communication with patients, their families and their primary care physicians.

The best of care and communication, all close to home at NCCH.

Your hospital works for you

Ainslee Wittig / NCCH Community Relations

While some of you may know me already, I am introducing myself in a new capacity as the community relations coordinator at Northern Cochise Community Hospital, in Willcox. I come here from the newspaper industry, where I have spent 20 years at the Arizona Range News, as a reporter and then as managing editor.

In that capacity, I have strived to write informative, accurate and unbiased articles on a variety of subjects. The majority of people who work as newspaper journalists believe strongly in what they do. They know the importance of getting information out to the public so they can evaluate that information and make informed decisions.

I was excited about moving to an industry where I can retain those same values.

Healthcare employees believe in what they do. They care about people. They want to educate and motivate residents to be healthy. Whether it is at the emergency room, the health fair or a visit to a clinic, the goals at NCCH are the same: to remedy health issues and educate on how to live a healthy lifestyle, while focusing on core values of Compassion, Integrity, Community and Trust.

As your local healthcare organization, Northern Cochise Community Hospital has a direct impact on the people of Willcox and the residents living in its 2,000 square-mile service area (the size of Delaware!) in Northern Cochise and Southern Graham counties. I am pleased to join the caring employees at NCCH in our quest for healthy, happy residents.

To further that effort, I will be writing a weekly column in the Arizona Range News where I can continue to give residents information to help them receive quality care and stay healthy, right here close to home.