Rock Rapids Clinic completes first year as community asset

Convenient care will continue to be a focus as clinic moves forward

Two health care workers in face masks meet in an exam room at Rock Rapids Clinic. A framed photo on the wall features Rapids Theatre.

Sanford Health Rock Rapids Clinic arrived at its one-year anniversary this May with this 9,600-square-foot facility continuing to represent a strong and expanding health care commitment to Rock Rapids, Iowa, and the surrounding area.

The clinic’s grand opening a year ago included a festive atmosphere and public celebration. The presence of the coronavirus, however, has quieted what would have been an equally rousing first birthday.

That’s not to say there is nothing to celebrate. In this case, the transition from the former Sanford Rock Rapids Medical Center to the Sanford Health Rock Rapids Clinic provides plenty of cause for that.

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“One of the reasons to celebrate has been watching this new team come together with energy and pride — they are so committed to patients,” said Tracy Schultz, Sanford Health nursing supervisor.

“The second is seeing patients continue to feel safe and comfortable with the same providers and staff they’ve had caring for them for many years. We hear their comments about our new beautiful facility but we know that the real celebration is about the staff and providers who care for their patients and families.”

Rock Rapids Clinic and opportunity

It’s impossible to ignore the impact the coronavirus has had on the heath care world. It has, however, given the clinic opportunity to help a community through a difficult time for everyone.

“Certainly our most recent challenge has been to meet patient needs for keeping them safe and healthy amidst the COVID-19 pandemic,” Schultz said.

Less obvious but also important is the challenge of managing two separate medical records in two different health systems. To ensure continuity of care, it’s important for a patient’s medical information to flow between the clinic and hospital quickly and accurately.

The clinic was committed to providing most of the services they had provided the community for years, including cardiology, orthopedics, urology, vascular, OB/GYN and general surgery specialty care. This is in addition to rehab services and advanced testing.

Testament to that are the tasks that providers and the staff are involved in on a daily basis.

“Some of the former Sanford hospital nurses and providers were concerned they may not be challenged clinically as they transitioned out emergency room and inpatient work,” Schultz said. “But I do believe all of them have felt that they are managing very complex situations and using the same skills they did at the hospital.”

Added trust in expanded care

Those duties include things like infusion therapy, advanced radiology screening and nuclear stress testing.

“We know the patients trust that we can manage complex health situations,” Schultz said. “They have relied on us to do so this past year.”

As the clinic advances into its second year, the team of providers has both plenty to do and plenty to feel good about.

For one thing, the clinic will be adding Dr. Sarah Heinen to the team of physicians later this summer. The staff will also continue to expand preventive medicine. They’ll do this via individual and class education, care management and health screenings.

In addition, the clinic also provides facilities and expertise for cardiac rehabilitation as well as rehab for pulmonary issues and physical, occupational and speech therapy in a beautiful new therapy wing of the clinic.

“We are changing the model of health care,” Schultz said. “We know that insurance payers are demanding lower-cost options for providing the same services we used to see in the hospital inpatient or outpatient arena.”

Expanded and more convenient care will continue to be a focus as the clinic moves forward.

“It’s good for the patients,” Schultz said. “And it’s good for the cost of health care.”

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Posted In Emergency Medicine, Family Medicine, General Surgery, Rock Rapids

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