St. Thomas Continues to be on Cutting Edge


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State-of-the-art mobile vascular care is now in place for patients in four rural Saint Thomas Health (STH) hospitals, thanks to a dedicated plan to expand the program from model Saint Thomas Rutherford Hospital. Now, Saint Thomas River Park Hospital in McMinnville, Saint Thomas Highlands Hospital in Sparta, Saint Thomas Stones River Hospital in Woodbury, and Saint Thomas DeKalb Hospital in Smithville have fully integrated the mobile vascular care program. The significance of this program being in place at these four rural hospitals is that having a trained, qualified and available vascular staff in place has a direct effect on decreasing infections and improving patient outcomes, both key measurements for Saint Thomas Health and all hospitals. Saint Thomas Health is part of Ascension, the nation’s largest Catholic and non-profit health system.

“We see a lot of patients who need dependable and long-term IV access,” said Clint Latham, BSN, RN, VA-BC and Nursing Manager of Saint Thomas Regional Vascular Access Services. “With patients being hospitalized, moving to nursing homes, and then going home, and often needing central vascular access devices continuously, we needed to have trained people and procedures in place at every Saint Thomas Health location.” Latham said more therapies require long-term IV use, meaning doctors rely heavily on peripherally inserted central catheters (PICCs), which require specialized equipment and trained staff to minimize complications.

Last year, Latham was tasked with developing a plan for the expansion. After months of work, the mobile vascular access service was in place, including these services: PICC insertions, catheter care, troubleshooting access devices, consultation for difficult vascular access cases, nursing staff education and incorporating new practices as they are developed or adopted. The mobile division serves the four regional hospitals with two full-time nurses providing staff coverage 12 hours a day, six days per week.

“Our research confirms that establishing specialized vascular access teams, with trained nurses using strict aseptic techniques during insertion and follow-up care, reduces the risk of complications and infections,” Latham said. He added another benefit is that costs are contained by improving patient flow, reducing complications, decreasing the patient’s length of stay, and reducing operational costs.

Saint Thomas Health is Middle Tennessee’s faith-based, not-for-profit health care system united as one healing community. Saint Thomas Health is focused on transforming the healthcare experience and helping people live healthier lives, with special attention to the poor and vulnerable. The regional health system includes nine hospitals: Saint Thomas Hospital for Spinal Surgery, Saint Thomas Midtown Hospital and Saint Thomas West Hospital in Nashville, Saint Thomas Rutherford Hospital in Murfreesboro, Saint Thomas Hickman Hospital in Centerville, Saint Thomas DeKalb Hospital in Smithville, Saint Thomas Highlands Hospital in Sparta, Saint Thomas River Park Hospital in McMinnville and Saint Thomas Stones River Hospital in Woodbury. A comprehensive network of affiliated joint ventures, medical practices, clinics and rehabilitation facilities complements the hospital services and covers a 68-county area. Saint Thomas Health is a member of Ascension, a Catholic organization that is the largest not-for-profit health system in the United States. For more information, visit


Ascension ( is a faith-based healthcare organization dedicated to transformation through innovation across the continuum of care. As the largest non-profit health system in the U.S. and the world’s largest Catholic health system, Ascension is committed to delivering compassionate, personalized care to all, with special attention to persons living in poverty and those most vulnerable. In FY2015, Ascension provided nearly $2 billion in care of persons living in poverty and other community benefit programs. Approximately 160,000 associates and 36,000 aligned providers serve in 2,500 sites of care – including 141 hospitals and more than 30 senior living facilities – in 24 states and the District of Columbia. In addition to healthcare delivery, Ascension subsidiaries provide a variety of services and solutions including physician practice management, venture capital investing, investment management, biomedical engineering, clinical care management, information services, risk management, and contracting through Ascension’s own group purchasing organization.

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