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Top-Ranked Critical Access Hospital In Dardanelle, AR

River Valley Medical Center is devoted to providing the highest level of medical care to Arkansas residents. In pursuance of that goal, we are always improving our technology, techniques and understanding of medicine. As the field is in a constant state of innovation, we make it a habit to keep up so that our patients are the first to benefit. Bookmark this page to remain updated on the latest developments at River Vally Medical Center.

RVMC Ranked #1 Critical Access Hospital In Arkansas

(Posted August 2014)

We believe it’s important for patients and families to know about the quality of care in any organization before making a decision about where to go for treatment.

We continuously monitor the quality of our care, and we use this information to guide our quality improvement efforts. Our clinical staff maintains the highest professional certifications. We set our standards of care according to those recommended by well-respected institutions based on scientific evidence and research.
The River Valley Medical Center is one of the top Critical Access Hospitals (CAH) in the state, according to results released earlier this year by The Arkansas Foundation for Medical Care (AFMC).

In early 2014 RVMC tied for first place among 27 CAH hospitals in Arkansas. Additionally, RVMC also tied for first place among 71 hospitals spread across the state of Arkansas.

Hospital core-measures, first introduced in 2003, are now referred to as the “Hospital Inpatient Quality Reporting” (IQR) program. The River Valley Medical Center received a 100% IQR score based on survey results compiled after patients had been discharged from the hospital.

The bottom line result is that patients like the treatment they receive here. The rapid rise in the hospital’s IQR scores — going from the bottom to the top of the heap — is the direct result of a renewed commitment to excellence, say hospital officials.

According to Stephanie Whitson, RVMC’s acute care inpatient nurse manager, the combination of intensive training and changes in concurrent reviews — reviewing charts while patients were still in the hospital, and not after they had been discharged — led to the impressive turnaround in just 12 months.

“I’m most proud of the care my nursing staff gives patients,” Whitson said recently. “They give amazing, top-quality care. Most of the nursing staff are from this town and it’s more than just a job to them. Their patients are like family, and our nurses meet a standard that is very high when it comes to caring for our patients.”

Betty Kelley, Former Chief Nursing Officer at RVMC, says she is most proud of her nursing department personnel, where all nurses on staff have obtained state certifications since she took over as director of nursing.

Kelley — who retired as a Lt. Colonel after 26 years from the U.S. Air Force — brought her finely-honed leadership skills she developed in the military to the River Valley Medical Center to raise standards and improve care for patients.

“My goal was to have every LPN and RN here at the River Valley Medical Center qualify in advanced cardiac life support (ACLS) and complete the demanding trauma nursing core course (TNCC),” she said.

“It makes a statement that all of our nurses here at River Valley Medical Center are fully qualified to fill in anywhere, from the Emergency Room to any role on the Acute Care staff.”

She said area residents who rely on the River Valley Medical Center for their health care might be surprised at the high level of care they will get here.

“People may not be aware we have such highly qualified personnel on staff,” she explained. “We have a nursing staff that took ownership of their community.” She noted most nurses grew up in Dardanelle and they are all still connected and live here. “They have family and neighbors here they want to take care of here,” Kelley said.

Kelley pointed to the renewed focus on intensive training at the hospital which helped her department in a variety of ways: improved retention of the best nurses, higher standards of care for patients, and a noticeable rise in staff morale.

“Our job is to take care of our nurses with better education, a better work environment and better pay,” she said.
Improvements in patient care at RVMC include electronic medical records, new telemetry capabilities the hospital is constantly updating, and a commitment to advances in emergency room telemedicine.

Close attention to the basics also makes the River Valley Medical Center stand out from other hospitals. These include daily checklists and daily rounds, resulting in a cleaner hospital environment, cleaner rooms and bright, clean hallways. She reports that daily safety checks and constant improvements to internal communications have contributed to a better working environment and have resulted in better care for patients.

Kelley stays active working side by side with the nursing staff. She says that as long as she can help facilitate changes that make a positive difference and she can be an effective liaison between the nursing staff and the hospital administration, she’s here to bring continuity and leadership to the RVMC team.

“Our staff is involved with our success,” Kelley said. “The staff here feels appreciated, and we work well together as a team.”

What does CAH mean? Why is this ranking important to you?

Having a Critical Access Hospital (CAH) right here in the middle of Dardanelle is vitally important to all area residents, because it assures quality, emergency care is available close to home.

An explanation from the www.healthy.arkansas.gov website gives some background and perspective on this topic:

“In 1997, Congress, through the Balanced Budget Act, authorized creation of what is called the Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility (FLEX) Program. This program has led to the creation of what is being called the Critical Access Hospital (CAH). By establishing limited service hospitals and rural health networks, these acute care facilities can provide outpatient, emergency, and limited inpatient services. The Department of Health has developed a Critical Access Hospital plan in consultation with the Arkansas Hospital Association. That plan was approved and funded by the Health Care Financing Administration, now known as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). There are currently 29 hospitals in the state that are designated as Critical Access Hospitals.”

We are proud to be named one of the top Critical Access Hospitals in Arkansas, and we are committed to earning your trust each and every time we can be of service to you! The River Valley Medical Center: Caring for you like Family!
We provide affordable access to quality care. Schedule an appointment at (479) 229-677.
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