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Journal #1: Habersham Medical Center

Taylor Van Tassel

Dr. Jim Lidstone & Dr. Ernie Kaninjing

KINS 4306: Internship Spring 2019

18 January 2019
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Week One:

(1/14/19 8:30am-12:00pm; 12:30pm-4:30pm.; 1/15/19 8:30am-12:00pm; 12:30pm-4:10pm.;

1/16/19 8:30am-12:00pm; 12:30pm-4:30pm.; 1/17/19 8:30am-12:00pm; 12:30pm-4:30pm.;

1/18/19 8:30am-12:00pm; 12:30pm-2:30pm)

Total Hours: 35.5 hours

My internship site is at Habersham Medical Center (HMC) in Demorest, Ga. I have many

job responsibilities that include administrative work and program planning. My first day was an

orientation, which discussed the basics of the hospital and what is to be expected of every

employee despite their department. I had begun my internship a week early because of the date

for orientation. Fortunately, I was given the opportunity to shadow the RN case management

department. Basically, the case managers responsibility is to assess, plan, and facilitate care

coordination and evaluate the patient before and after discharge.

After shadowing the case management department for the full week, I was given my own

office. My supervisor, Tyler Williams, is the Vice President of Strategy and Business

Development. He gave me some insight into uprising problems that the hospital is facing.

Habersham Medical Center is a small rural 53-bed not-for-profit acute care facility. Habersham

Medical Center was the highest penalized hospital in the state for the past 1 ½ years for the

Medicare 30-day readmission penalty. The overall goal for the hospital is how can we reduce the

readmission rate and provide higher patient satisfaction and quality of care. Once I had gained

some insight into what the Medicare 30-day readmission penalty is and what diagnoses it covers.

I researched what ways can you improve the rate. Case management plays a vital role into

reducing these rates and increasing patient satisfaction. Once I understood all aspects of

readmission rates, I had to educate myself about Habersham County and the demographics that
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the hospital is faced with. I created an Excel spreadsheet comparing some surrounding counties

that also have acute care facilities. I compared Habersham County with Union County and

Stephens County. Union General Hospital and Stephens County Hospital have similar qualities

to HMC. Once finished plugging in the data, I noticed that Habersham County experiences a

lower socioeconomic status. This low socioeconomic status correlates with the vast percentage

of Medicare and Medicaid patients that admit to the hospital.

Throughout my research, I began to notice a trend in the research of successful hospitals.

Hospitals are converting their reimbursement model to a more population health approach. A

population health approach means that patients are seeking out all types of care with their

primary care providers instead of the hospital. Another quality that creates for success is

providing more education to patients before and after discharge. Majority of those that readmit

within the 30 days are because of their lack of resources and education. HMC was given a grant,

Small Rural Stabilization Grant, by the state in 2017, which gave them an opportunity to fund

more programs and make more partnerships to help keep the hospital afloat. HMC has recently

partnered with ACO’s of Northeast Georgia. They are a group of physicians and hospitals that

come together to coordinate high quality care to Medicare insured patients.

With that being said, this is start to a new model for the health care system. Mr. Williams

has proposed to the state that we use a “hub-and-spoke” model to eliminate unnecessary

utilization within the hospital. After a detailed research about readmission rates and quality of

care, Tyler Williams expressed that the health care system should coordinate different care

specialties over the span of hospitals in Georgia instead of the constant competition of “who has

the best qualifications and specialties”.


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These past two weeks have been very exciting and diverse. I have met many professional

individuals and look forward to making loads of connections. My supervisor, Tyler Williams,

comes from a business background. Therefore, I do notice that my thought process about

programs and models are more of a public health approach in comparison to his, which is more

business oriented. I feel that working alongside of him; I will gain both a public health

perspective and business management perspective. The days tend to be long, especially when I

am looking at a computer screen all day. However, it is necessary for me to complete the

research and learn about the hospital, so I can give some insight into my ideas and vision during

meetings.

Towards the end of the week, I met the Clinical Educator, Kristina Adamson, she

educates the physicians, nurses, and administration about skills and knowledge needed to allow

the hospital to thrive. I will be working alongside her also. She has a RN background is currently

in the process of gaining her Master’s in Nursing. I will be assisting her in applying for a

Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) program that they are attempting to receive through the state.

Thursday, 01/17/19, she had given me the binder with the certifications and regulations that

HMC must follow in order to qualify for a CNA program. Besides assisting in the CNA program,

she would like for me to aid her in training employees to have proper skills for quality of care.

With that being said, this will be beneficial for me in regard to reducing the readmission rate.

I believe that this experience will allow me to grow and guide me into the desired career

field once I graduate. I am looking forward to assisting these professionals in these projects and

programs to make HMC a well-rounded hospital.