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Sanford Health, Good Samaritan Society’s Mobile Clinic Offers Support to Hospice Patients

South Dakota-based health system Sandford Health is collaborating with the Good Samaritan Society to serve patients in their homes through a mobile clinic, which among other services offers additional support to patients in hospice.

Although they operate under distinct brands, the two organizations merged in 2019 to create one of the largest rural health systems in the nation, according to Rochelle Rindels, Good Samaritan’s vice president of nursing and clinical services. At the time of the merger, the nonprofit system’s combined footprint spanned more than 20 states, including 44 medical centers, nearly 500 clinics, and more than 200 senior living facilities — with annual revenues in excess of $5 billion.

The organization’s mobile Post-Acute and Community Services Clinic is designed to serve rural seniors who may have difficulty traveling to medical appointments, with an initial focus on patients in assisted living or skilled nursing facilities.

“When we initially set up the clinic, there were discussions from senior leaders both on the Sanford and Good Samaritan sides to really come to the table with ideas on how we can serve that rural health population and continue to care for residents in their homes, Rindels told Hospice News. “We decided to stand up this clinic, got some of the providers that worked in the older adult geriatric sector and really looked at what skill mix would be needed there.”

The mobile clinic is staffed with physicians, nurse practitioners, and other mid-level providers, according to Tess. These clinicians partner closely with the nurses in the long term care and assisted living facilities.

The clinic launched in 2020, initially serving 14 locations. Since then, Sanford and Good Samaritan have expanded the program to 40 locations throughout South Dakota, Minnesota, and Iowa.

The mobile clinic does not offer hospice care, but its clinical staff does continue to collaborate with those providers after a patient elects the benefit.

“The providers would continue to see some of those residents when they enter hospice, of course allowing the patients their choice on the hospice provider, but we always encourage that continuity of care,” Rindels said.

For hospice patients, the Sanford-Good Samaritan team will continue to address patients’ acute or urgent needs, including wound care services and medication management as well as advance care planning.

“When we have a patient who moves into needing hospice care, it’s usually that same provider or physician that can follow through from the mobile clinic into that hospice care setting,” Rindels told Hospice News. “So a lot of our providers are really encouraged to follow the residents throughout their lifespan.”

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