The case for local, quality healthcare
A key factor in population health is "access." Having a range of healthcare services close to home is better for patient outcomes, as patients are more likely to keep appointments when they don't have to travel far.
Rural communities experience a wide range of emergency situations. Farming accidents involving chemicals and equipment, house fires caused by antiquated wiring and construction, and traffic accidents are just some of the common emergencies in rural Wisconsin. Gundersen St. Joseph's Hospital has a Level IV trauma-certified emergency room. This certifies the hospital can provide advanced life support for trauma situations, ensuring patients get timely, professional care, are stabilized, and transferred to a higher trauma level facility for further care. Gundersen St. Joseph's Hospital also participates in Priority One, a Gundersen Health System program with rural emergency departments that aims to achieve fast transport times for critical patients.
Patients receiving care close to home is important at Gundersen Health System. A common trend in healthcare is toward same-day outpatient procedures. As medical technology advances, more and more of these procedures can be done quickly and locally, allowing patients to be at home recovering instead of enduring long drive times to and from larger facilities in bigger cities.
Seeking care close to home is also more economical for the patient. The cost of regular trips back and forth to bigger cities can add up and is a direct cost to the patient. Such trips may also require more time off work for the patient and anyone supporting the patient with travel.
Seeking care close to home is also better for the environment. A surgeon traveling from La Crosse to see twelve patients in Hillsboro removes twelve vehicles from the road traveling the same distance.
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