Healthcare Training Consortium

January 5, 2010

Executive Summary
The South Central Healthcare Training Consortium (Consortium) is a 4 county collaborative, with the goal of increasing the quality of healthcare provided to patients in eastern Washington by connecting, coordinating, and facilitating essential training to rural incumbent healthcare workers.

South Central Washington hospitals and other facilities have identified a common significant shortage in certified healthcare professionals. The shortages noted by our partner hospitals and others include:
  • Imaging Professionals (Computerized Tomography, Mammography and Ultrasound)
  • Medical Assistants
  • Medical Lab Technicians
  • Nursing
  • Rehabilitation Professionals (Physical Therapists, Occupational Therapists and Speech Therapists)
  • Respiratory Therapists
In response, the Consortium has viewed this challenge as an opportunity to design a collective approach by partnering the region's rural hospitals, long term care facilities, clinics and others into a training consortium; pooling training resources and advancing the certification levels of rural medical personnel in the region.

The Consortium includes a partnership between
  • Kittitas Valley Community Hospital
  • Klickitat Valley Health
  • Landmark Care
  • Rural Quality Health Care Network
  • Skyline Hospital
  • Sunnyside Community Hospital
  • Yakima Regional Medical Center and Cardiac Care
  • Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic
  • Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital
This will form a 4 county partnership between Kittitas, Yakima, Klickitat and Skamania Counties. Rural Quality Healthcare Network as a partner will provide guidance by helping the Consortium create a website network to share resources and education.

The Need
As the need for qualified, medical providers in eastern Washington grows, so does the necessity to increase the competency of the current workforce, filling those essential gaps in patient care. Currently individual rural hospitals send staff to urban areas such as Seattle to provide the training needed. With the high cost of travel, lodging, replacement staff costs and limited funds, training is extremely cost prohibitive. Additionally, the education is not always specific to the kinds of medical issues seen in rural areas. Rural areas do not see the large number of patients with special problems that a facility in a metropolitan area might. This makes the need for high quality education that much more important so that staff are prepared to give the latest evidence-based care thereby providing safe and quality healthcare. Additionally, by providing the training needed we hope to increase staff retention and job satisfaction by providing the staff the education they need to do their jobs.

Here are several examples from our partners:
  1. Landmark Care Center is a skilled nursing facility (nursing home) in Yakima, Washington with 93 beds. This organization serves Yakima and surrounding areas, caring for the elderly. Landmark Care Center is interested in attaining post acute cardiac nursing skills for the nursing staff, in order to broaden their strengths and allow the acceptance of recovering cardiac patients not yet ready to return home to independence, but improving enough to leave the acute care setting. The education provided would be 20 hours of specialized training leading to an in-house certification.
  2. Imaging Technologists need to get further certifications. In small rural hospitals staff must be cross-trained for several modalities. 1 example is with computerized tomography where the cost for an online, home-schooled course is approximately $500. The certification gained is Registry in Computerized Tomography. Ultrasound and Echocardiogram online courses can be $1,500 which small rural medical providers cannot afford.
  3. Hospitals have an acute need for Registered Nurses with specialized training in critical care, emergency medicine, labor and delivery and surgery. 1 example of this is the need for a 12-lead EKG course so that a nurse who is in the emergency room or critical care unit can evaluate an EKG immediately and call the physician to report the problem in order to implement timely and appropriate care. Specialized classes may last 1-4 days in length in these areas.
  4. Healthcare facilities often need to place recent graduates into a specialty area. Placing new nurses into the emergency room requires the need for emergency room nursing classes so nurses can be prepared to care for a wide variety of patients from an ill child to a trauma patient. In rural areas, staff often need to be able to stabilize patients until they can be airlifted out to a tertiary care center like Harborview Medical Center.
Project Goals & Objectives
The Consortium will promote collaboration among rural hospitals by creating a centralized training system for healthcare providers in eastern Washington and maximize training funds distributed through South Central Workforce Council. Quality education is critical in a time of increasing patient acuity requiring greater staff competency. Safety and evidence-based care is the expectation and must be practiced. Requirements from state and federal agencies are increasingly focusing on safe patient care and staff competencies.

Potential Workforce Training Projects for Consideration
Numbers are approximate:
  • 12 Lead EKG Course (100 people)
  • Acute Care Issues: Sepsis, ARDS, GI emergencies (100 people)
  • Advance Fetal Monitoring (100 people)
  • Basic Fetal Monitoring (40 people)
  • Cardiac Medication Review (100 people)
  • Charge/Preceptor Nursing Leadership Course (80 people)
  • Coding (10 people)
  • Computerized Tomography either home program, online or through local community college (8 people)
  • Critical Care Core/Certification (30 people)
  • Echocardiogram (4 people)
  • Emergency Nursing Core Course/Certification (30 people)
  • Essentials of Critical Care Orientation Course through AACN (80 people)
  • High Risk Obstetrics (100 people)
  • Hospital Management Development (125 people)
  • Joint Core Curriculum for Obstetrics (125 people)
  • Lean Processes for Healthcare
  • Mammography Course (6 people)
  • Medical Surgical Certification (80 people)
  • Obstetrics Certification (40 people)
  • Phlebotomy (4 people)
  • Post Cardiac Care (30 people)
  • Telemetry Course (100 people)
  • Trauma Education (125 people)
  • Ultrasound (8 people)
With collaboration between partners, the Consortium will bring quality training to the healthcare workers in a cost effective manner.

Project Goal
The project goal is to create a South Central Healthcare Training Consortium.

  1. Identify and prioritize healthcare workforce training needs among rural hospitals and healthcare facilities (e.g. long term care facilities, clinics) in South Central Washington state;
  2. Evaluate the availability of current healthcare training programs for the South Central region;
  3. Provide nursing and allied health staff with training opportunities that promote ‘best practices' and upgrade skills (address skill gaps);
  4. Coordinate training programs and create a shared regional Training Calendar which will include offerings from each facility in the region;
  5. Assist in expanding training and certification courses to rural healthcare workers.
Leverage Partnership Resources
Healthcare worker wages and benefits will be paid while in training, classrooms and training space provided, tuition assistance available, clinical training sites provided, and sharing resources between facilities.