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Richmond Memorial earns national recognition for respiratory care

| Date Posted: 8/2/2010

Johnny E. Camargo, M.D.

Johnny E. Camargo, M.D.

ROCKINGHAM – FirstHealth Richmond Memorial Hospital has been named a Quality Respiratory Care Recognition (QRCR) hospital for 2010 under a national program aimed at helping patients and families make informed decisions about the quality of the respiratory care services available in hospitals.

About 700 (or 15 percent) of the hospitals in the United States applied for and received this award.

Johnny E. Camargo, M.D., a board certified specialist in internal medicine with Richmond Internal Medicine & Cardiology Associates, serves as medical director for the cardiopulmonary department at Richmond Memorial Hospital, which is a division of FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital.

“The exceptional performance of this department is due to many factors,” Dr. Camargo says. “The department provides 24-hour hospital coverage by practitioners who are registered as either a certified respiratory therapist (CRT) or registered respiratory therapist (RRT) through the National Respiratory Care Board and licensed by the State of North Carolina Respiratory Care Board. During their orientation period and annually, each practitioner’s competency is evaluated for every procedure that he/she performs at FirstHealth Richmond Memorial Hospital. These dedicated men and women augment their abilities by meeting and exceeding continuing education requirements every year.”

According to Dr. Camargo, the respiratory care practitioners at Richmond Memorial are cross-trained to provide services to the cardiology department by performing electrocardiograms in the hospital as well as in the emergency department.

“A select few are also fully trained to provide assistance in the stress lab and during neurodiagnostic studies,” he says. “All of our respiratory care practitioners have Neonatal Resuscitation Program (NRP) certification and attend all C-sections and high-risk births.”

The American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC) started the QRCR program in 2003 to help consumers identify facilities that use qualified respiratory therapists to provide respiratory care. Hospitals earning the QRCR designation ensure patient safety by agreeing to adhere to a strict set of criteria governing their respiratory care services.

To qualify for the recognition, Richmond Memorial Hospital provided documentation showing it meets the following conditions:

  • All respiratory therapists employed by the hospital to deliver bedside respiratory care services are either legally recognized by the state as competent to provide respiratory care or hold the CRT or RRT credential
  • Respiratory therapists are available 24 hours
  • Other personnel qualified to perform specific respiratory procedures and the amount of supervision required for personnel to carry out specific procedures must be designated in writing
  • A doctor of medicine or osteopathy is designated as medical director of respiratory care services
  • Hospital policy prohibits the routine delivery of medicated aerosol treatments using small volume nebulizers, metered dose inhalers or intermittent positive pressure treatments to multiple patients simultaneously

According to the Angela Morrisey, RRT, RCP, clinical director of Richmond Memorial’s respiratory therapy program, the department may be considered small by some standards, but it is staffed by the best respiratory care practitioners in the area. “Their dedication and hard work speaks for itself,” she says.

Respiratory therapists are specially trained health care professionals who work under physician’s orders to provide a wide range of breathing treatments and other services to people with asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cystic fibrosis, lung cancer, AIDS, and other lung or lung-related conditions. They also care for premature infants and are key members of lifesaving response teams charged with handling medical emergencies.

The QRCR program grew out of growing concerns among health care leaders and the general public regarding the safety and quality of health care services provided to patients. Hospitals meeting the QRCR requirements provide a level of respiratory care consistent with national standards and guidelines.

The AARC is a membership organization that represents more than 46,000 health professionals involved in respiratory care nationwide.

FirstHealth Richmond Memorial Hospital is a division of FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital.

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