Hancock County Hospital Recognized Nationally As One Of Top 20 Critical Access Hospitals

For seven years, Hancock County Hospital has delivered superior care to the community it serves and empowered patients to stay close to home for many of their healthcare needs.

Now, Hancock County is receiving national recognition as one of the top 20 critical access hospitals in the country. The National Rural Health Association selected the facility among this elite group of hospitals from a group of more than 1,300 across the nation.

“Hancock County Hospital is a tremendous resource for its community, as well as people in adjacent counties,” said Denny DeNarvaez, Wellmont Health System’s president and CEO. “Our co-workers take great pride in delivering high-quality care that restores patients to health. We appreciate this national recognition because it reinforces the respect everyone has held for the hospital ever since it opened.”

The stellar ranking for the hospital is based on its performance across several categories and core measures, such as treatment and care of patients with pneumonia and those who suffer a heart attack. It reflects the broad spectrum of care this community hospital offers the west end of Wellmont’s service area.

Hancock County has 10 inpatient beds and five more in the emergency department. The hospital also provides a 16-slice CT scanner, X-ray and laboratory services, ultrasound and respiratory therapy. Physicians staff the emergency department 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“Our hospital plays a major role in the quality of life of Hancock County by resolving many health issues, such as pneumonia, which enables our patients to quickly return to their normal routine,” said Greg Neal, the hospital’s president. “But we also are proud to assist other Wellmont facilities in the treatment of patients who need a higher level of care.”

Patients who are having a heart attack, for example, can receive treatment in Hancock County’s emergency department, where they are stabilized and transferred to Holston Valley Medical Center to have the blockage cleared. This system was bolstered in July when the Wellmont CVA Heart Institute donated four 12-lead electrocardiography machines to Hancock County Ambulance Service.

With these machines, paramedics can perform EKGs on patients in the field and transmit the test to a hospital, such as Hancock County. That enables a physician in the emergency department to determine whether the patient is suffering a heart attack and mobilizes the cardiac catheterization lab at Holston Valley so it can restore blood flow as soon as the patient arrives

Since it opened in 2005 – 13 years after the previous hospital closed – Hancock County has also participated in the treatment of acute conditions through an innovative swing bed program. If a patient is transferred to another hospital for a serious condition, such as a stroke, he or she can return to Hancock County as an inpatient later to finish treatment when acute care is no longer needed.

“The coordination between Hancock County and its sister hospitals in Wellmont really provides a dynamic approach that supplies medical care fast and effectively to improve a patient’s condition,” Neal said. “But fortunately, a patient often does not require that extra level of care and can receive compassionate inpatient and outpatient care at Hancock County without lengthy travel.”

The hospital is plugged into the needs of the community by participating in career days at Hancock County High School and offering job shadowing opportunities to students. It has also assisted with health screenings, provided blood pressure checks and held annual flu shot clinics.

Even though the hospital is no longer new, it looks just as spiffy as the day it opened. Phyllis Dossett, Hancock County’s director of clinical services, said co-workers take great pride in giving patients an exceptional experience not only with the aesthetics but also the clinical care. That is why hospital leaders and co-workers recently celebrated this national achievement – to recognize the joint commitment to make Hancock County the best facility it can be.

“We are well aware what an asset Hancock County Hospital is for everyone in the community and are focused on keeping the quality as strong as possible,” Dossett said. “This national award means so much to everyone at the hospital because all of us are committed to helping patients receive appropriate care and attain optimal health.”