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Hospital here leads again

in sustainable rural model

Ministry Eagle River Memorial Hospital is leading the charge for a sustainable rural health care model once again, this time with an innovative pilot program that allows nurse practitioners to admit and care for eligible hospital patients.


Recently approved by the Wisconsin Department of Health and Human Services, the waiver means these advanced practice nurse prescribers (APNP) can become certified to act as a nonphysician hospitalist for a select group of patients.


After six to 12 months of additional training, they will be equipped to manage the bulk of patient admissions in 15 disease categories, triage patients to the appropriate level of care, provide care using evidence-based order sets and to use telemedicine.


Until Ministry Eagle River Memorial Hospital applied for the waiver, there was no provision to allow nurse practitioners to be the attending provider in a hospital. State law requires a physician, dentist or podiatrist to admit patients.


In a nutshell, the pilot program uses Marshfield Clinic TeleHealth to connect the APNP hospitalist in Eagle River to the hospitalist at Ministry Saint Mary’s in Rhinelander. Though the two are 23 miles apart, the high-resolution cameras and equipment allow the hospitalist in Rhinelander to connect with the nurse practitioner and patient in Eagle River.


This innovative idea comes from the first rural hospital in Wisconsin to implement a “Critical Care Access” program, insuring cost-based reimbursement from Medicare. Just as the previous designation helped insure the financial viability of Ministry Eagle River Memorial Hospital and other rural hospitals, the newest waiver could become a sustainable solution for ensuring long-term access to inpatient care in rural communities.


It is the first time in state history that a nurse practitioner has been supported by a physician hospitalist. The leadership at Ministry Health Care was instrumental in getting the waiver approved.

Wolf hunt quota too low

to relieve overpopulation

The 2013 wolf harvest quota of 275 animals is only high enough if the state’s six Chippewa tribes don’t claim half of the quota in the ceded territory, which would lower the quota by 115 wolves for a net quota of 160.


When you take into account that last year’s harvest of 117 wolves by gun and trap served only to keep wolf numbers in check, a harvest of 160 this year would do little to ease the severe wolf overpopulation that prompted a public harvest season.


There are a minimum of 809 to 834 wolves in the state, including 215 packs and 15 lone wolves. That is virtually identical to the year before the first public hunt and more than double the management goal of 350 wolves outside of Indian reservations.


While we don’t blame the Department of Natural Resources for being conservative, this quota is ridiculous and will provide little relief from wolf depredation and overpopulation.

Behind the editorial ‘we’


Members of the Vilas County News-Review editorial board include Publisher Kurt Krueger, Editor Gary Ridderbusch and Assistant Editor Anthony Drew.
Tuesday, July 16, 2013 2:56 PM

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