Life Care adds in-house doctor to Wichita nursing home

Eli Brumfield
Eli Brumfield Courtesy photo

Life Care Center of Wichita has its first in-house physician, who will tend to patients staying in its skilled nursing and rehabilitation facility.

Eli Brumfield was placed at the center by Life Care Physician Services, a subsidiary of Life Care Centers of America, a privately held company that operates the 120-bed Wichita center at 622 N. Edgemoor.

Brumfield, an internal medicine specialist, previously was a hospitalist at Labette Health in Parsons.

His hiring is part of a broader move by Life Care Centers of America, which is based in Cleveland, Tenn., to have in-house physicians in its skilled nursing and rehabilitation buildings. Life Care Centers of America operates or manages more than 220 nursing, assisted-living and Alzheimer’s centers in 28 states, including seven in Kansas.

“The biggest benefit is just quicker access for patients here,” Kyle Schaffer, executive director of the Wichita center, said. “It’s really helped us reduce our re-hospitalizations.”

Life Care said in a news release announcing Brumfield’s appointment that having a doctor on-site improves communication with pharmacies and patients’ attending physicians. On-site doctors also can respond quickly to changes in a patient’s condition or in a medical emergency, the company said.

Brumfield also is serving as the center’s medical director, and will be able to shape the center’s medical policies and procedures.

“He’s more integrated into the team and sees first-hand processes that could be improved upon,” Schaffer said.

Schaffer said the company is looking at placing an in-house physician at Life Care Center of Andover, Life Care Centers of America’s only other area skilled nursing and rehabilitation center.

A state official said it’s unusual for skilled nursing facilities in Kansas to have an on-site physician.

“Anecdotally, I haven’t seen a lot of facilities hire an in-house physician,” said Joe Ewert, commissioner of survey, certification and credentialing for the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services. The department has regulatory oversight of skilled nursing facilities.

Ewert said it’s slightly more common in Kansas for physician or hospital clinics to partner with skilled nursing centers, such as in Topeka or Kansas City.

Reach Jerry Siebenmark at 316-268-6576 or Follow him on Twitter: @jsiebenmark.