Traveling wound specialist makes the rounds |

Traveling wound specialist makes the rounds

Gary Cooke
Special to The Union

The SNMH Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Medicine Center has combined with a traveling wound care specialist to assure continuing care for local skilled nursing facility patients.

Dr. Michael Montgomery, who works out of the Sacramento area, visits up to 25 nursing homes every week, including four in the Grass Valley area: Springhill, Golden Empire, Wolf Creek, and Crystal Ridge. He is one of about 160 physicians nationally who do this work for the Florida-based Vohra Wound Physicians group.

"We don't have our own offices, or clinics," Dr. Montgomery explained. "We make weekly, scheduled visits to skilled nursing facilities and work with wound care nurses at each location. We also refer to local wound care centers like the one in Grass Valley."

That's where the SNMH Wound Center enters the picture.

"The hospital has made community services a priority," Manager Michelle Harris explained. "We wanted to reach out to our local skilled nursing facilities to ensure the residents had the same services as they had when they lived at home. We discovered a disconnect when a patient was being seen at the wound center, then had a hospitalization that led to a transition to skilled nursing. We would lose contact and continuity of care with the patient. Working with Dr. Montgomery allows the patient to continue with regular wound care at the facility, and opens up services such as hyperbarics, debridements, and skin substitutes to the patient at the wound center. It is a well-rounded relationship."

Dr. Montgomery said he wants to make certain that patients continue to get wound care after being discharged from a skilled nursing home, as well as receiving good care while a patient.

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"Healing the wound is my bottom line," he said. "When patients are discharged they are no longer in my care, so I refer them to the wound center."

Ongoing wound care is vital, he explained. Wounds need draining, bathing, and dressing and must be kept clear of infection.

"People don't realize that all kinds of things can cause severe morbidity, and that can affect quality of life," he said. "If a wound turns septic and the infection gets into the blood stream, it becomes a high risk with serious complications.."

Lack of healing can also lead to loss of extremities, he noted. If wounds in the leg don't heal, for example, that can impact blood circulation and result in amputation.

Dr. Montgomery emphasized that his services to skilled nursing patients don't cost anything for the patient or the facility, because more than 95 percent of patients are covered by Medicare, MediCal or other insurance packages. He visits facilities in Roseville, Marysville, Yuba City, Oroville, and Paradise, along with the four homes in the Grass Valley area.

"All of these facilities have wound treatment nurses who apply and change dressings, as necessary, and we work closely with those nurses," he said. "I'm there on specific days each week, or they can call me if there is a problem or if they have a new patient."

Thus far, Dr. Montgomery said he's referred one or two patients a month to the center.

"This is a new relationship and a new process," Harris said. "It will offer services and support to our local skilled nursing facility patients, as well as the staff at those facilities. We look forward to this collaboration."

For more information about the SNMH Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Medicine Center, call 530-272-8619 or visit

All physicians providing care for patients at SNMH are members of the medical staff and are independent practitioners, not employees of the hospital.

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