Cheryl Batchelor, ANP-BC
PINEHURST – A FirstHealth adult nurse practitioner who worked for many years in cardiac care and nursing administration before finding her “niche” in the care of the underserved chronically ill will receive a state award for going “above and beyond” to provide the highest quality care for her patients.
Cheryl Batchelor, ANP-BC, is one of 10 North Carolina health care professionals chosen to receive a 2014 Healthcare Quality Award from Community Care of North Carolina (CCNC). A community-based, public-private partnership, CCNC has taken a population-management approach to improving health care and containing costs for North Carolina’s most vulnerable populations by creating “medical homes” in all 100 counties for Medicaid beneficiaries, individuals who are eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid, privately insured employees and uninsured people.
Recipients of the Healthcare Quality Awards will be recognized by the CCNC Board of Directors during a Dec. 3 awards luncheon in Raleigh. They were chosen for their exceptional performance in a variety of categories including patient service and education, health care analytics, effective collaboration on a multi-disciplinary team and improving access to care in rural areas.
Batchelor came to Moore Regional Hospital in 1990 as a cardiac nurse specialist with the then-new open-heart surgery team. She spent more than a decade in nursing administration before becoming director of the hospital’s Transition Care Clinic, where she reports to Dan Barnes, D.O., president of the FirstHealth Physician Group.
“Cheryl has been a true patient advocate and champion for the Transition Care Clinic form the onset of the program,” Dr. Barnes says. “She is dedicated to her patients and works tirelessly to get them engaged in their health care. Her enthusiasm and passion for patient care is remarkable. The collaborative, multi-disciplinary approach to patient care is key to the success of our transition clinics, and Cheryl has played a critical role in implementing this model of care, functioning as the quarterback for our team.”
Batchelor was nominated for the CCNC award by Tammie McLean, R.N., director of Community Care of the Sandhills, a regional organization that works closely with the Transition Care Clinic to connect underserved patients in Moore, Montgomery, Richmond, Hoke, Harnett, Scotland and Lee counties to the health care and community resources necessary to help them manage their chronic illness.
“We are really proud of the work that the Transition Care Clinic is doing and feel that it is truly filling a need in our community,” McLean says. “Our nomination went to Cheryl as representative of the clinic, because she truly saw the value of having one of our nurse care managers embedded in the clinic. She has opened her arms and the clinic to our staff, and she works very collaboratively with us in helping to get patients the resources that they need.”
Moore Regional’s Transition Care Clinic opened just a year ago, but already averages 51 patient visits a week. (The projected target was 33.3.) Patients range in age from 18 to 95, and most are referred to the clinic after a hospital or emergency department discharge for a chronic medical condition. Diabetes, hypertension and tobacco dependency are the most common diagnoses, and Batchelor shares the patient caseload with Dr. Barnes and Suzanne Wilson, M.D. Both are specialists in internal medicine.
During their 30 days of clinic eligibility, Transition Care Clinic patients are treated for their chronic conditions and also referred to other FirstHealth and community resources designed to help them avoid return hospital stays and emergency department visits. Similar clinics, based on the successful Moore Regional model, have recently opened at Richmond Memorial Hospital in Rockingham and Montgomery Memorial Hospital in Troy.
Batchelor began her nursing career as a charge nurse with the CarolinaEast Health System in New Bern after receiving a B.S. degree in nursing from the University of North Carolina. She has since earned an M.S. in nursing from East Carolina University and an adult nurse practitioner post-master’s certificate from Duke University.
She has worked as a nursing instructor at Central Carolina Community College, a critical care and staff nurse with Wake Health Care System in Raleigh and as clinical manager of the Cardiothoracic Recovery Unit at Rex HealthCare in Raleigh.
She joined FirstHealth as a cardiothoracic nurse specialist and director of Clinical Nursing Education and later became director of Clinical Practice and Administrative Systems and executive director of Clinical Operations Patient Care Services. She served as interim chief nursing officer and vice president of Patient Care Services from 2011 to 2013.
She is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives, American Organization of Nurse Executives, American Nurses’ Association and American Association of Nurse Practitioners.
In her current role, Batchelor oversees the daily operations of the Transition Care Clinic while also providing primary medical care for clinic patients.
“This is my niche,” she says. “This is what I love. I feel like I’m making a difference. When a patient tells me, ‘You care about me,’ that’s more important to me than anything.”