More than $127,000 will provide rural healthcare workers with expanded training opportunities

The Greater Delta Alliance for Health (GDAH), a 10-hospital network in Southeast Arkansas, which includes Drew Memorial Hospital, was recently awarded a grant for $127,632 from the Blue & You Foundation for a Healthier Arkansas.

Blue & You Foundation Executive Director Patrick O’Sullivan presented the check to GDAH board members.

Blue & You Foundation Executive Director Patrick Sullivan (second from left) presents a grant check to GDAH Board Chairman Rex Jones.  Also pictured are Mellie Bridewell, GDAH executive director (left) and David Mantz, treasurer.

Blue & You Foundation Executive Director Patrick Sullivan (second from left) presents a grant check to GDAH Board Chairman Rex Jones. Also pictured are Mellie Bridewell, GDAH executive director (left) and David Mantz, treasurer.

“We are excited that the GDAH is continuing to address the need for rural healthcare providers to receive qualified, on-site training,” O’Sullivan said. “Our foundation is very pleased to continue our partnership with this unique organization.”

The grant will provide the GDAH’s Arkansas Delta Health Education for Local Providers (HELP) project with funds to expand its on-site simulation training for rural health hospital teams for OB emergency situations and will also offer Neonatal Resuscitation Program (NRP) certification training to hospital delivery teams, pre-hospital providers, interfacility transport providers, and emergency department staff in the Arkansas Delta. Both training programs are provided free to healthcare workers at Drew Memorial Hospital and other participating hospitals and ambulance services in 12, including Drew County.

“Guaranteeing the quality care and safety for women and newborns by providing comprehensive on-site OB simulation trainings are essential where even routine deliveries may become life-threatening emergencies,” said GDAH Executive Director Mellie Bridewell. “While work hour restrictions and time in the OR become increasingly more expensive, there is a greater need for simulation training to help assure the best clinical outcomes for patients. “The Blue & You grant will provide that by allowing the program to continue and expand.”

According to HELP Coordinator Debbie Rush Tiner, 147 healthcare providers received the free, on-site OB training in 2015, saving thousands of dollars for hospitals. “The training afforded by the HELP project broadened their experience without patient risk and improved their confidence and skills when emergencies do arise,” said Tiner.

The Neonatal Resuscitation Program (NRP) certification training is designed to provide the essential knowledge and skills to all healthcare providers who are involved in the delivery of newborns, when the first few moments of life can be the most critical. Effective emergency training can help prevent neonatal death, particularly for emergency responders faced with delivering newborns outside of a hospital setting. In the mostly low-income, rural communities the GDAH serves, ambulance teams often deal with extended transport times which can easily put them in the situation of delivering a baby in need of neonatal resuscitation. By increasing the number of healthcare workers and emergency responders that are NRP-certified, an estimated 20% of newborn deaths can be prevented.

“The NRP training is really important because there are many hospitals that do not provide it,” said Tiner. “The HELP program will make it available to any healthcare worker in Southeast Arkansas and assure they receive the necessary skills to save lives.”

Participating hospitals include all Greater Delta Alliance for Health partners: Ashley County Medical Center in Crossett, Baptist Health-Stuttgart, Bradley County Medical Center in Warren, Chicot Memorial Medical Center in Lake Village, Dallas County Medical Center in Fordyce, Delta Memorial Hospital in Dumas, DeWitt Hospital & Nursing Home, Drew Memorial Hospital in Monticello, Jefferson Regional Medical Center in Pine Bluff and McGehee Hospital, as well as other Arkansas Delta hospitals, including Helena Regional Medical Center, Cross County Medical Center in Wynne, Ouachita County Medical Center in Camden and Forrest City Medical Center.

Ambulance services participating in this project for free NRP certification include hospital and community ambulance services in Arkansas, Ashley, Bradley, Chicot, Dallas, Desha, Drew, Jefferson, and Lincoln counties.