Rural healthcare in Nevada, MO

8/13/2018

Access to healthcare in rural areas of the United States is known to be limited. This can be caused by not only a lack of services or providers, but a lack of individual resources for obtaining available services such as transportation, insurance coverage or other financial means to pay for services and confidence in the quality of care one might receive.

Vernon County is unique in its access to care, despite its rural location. There are relatively many providers and services available in Nevada, as well as resources to help individuals obtain access to these services.  Not only may one find multiple primary care providers to choose from, but also a variety of specialists and options for treatment of acute and chronic illness.

As an acute care hospital, Nevada Regional Medical Center (NRMC) offers services not found in many outlying hospitals, within a manageable traveling distance to county residents. NRMC provides financial assistance services to benefit the uninsured and underinsured patients of the hospital and its rural health clinics.

“I applaud NRMC’s motivation to increase access to care,” said family medicine and obstetrics physician, Amanda Turner, M.D. “NRMC is continually working on improving access to various specialties and medical providers.”

When higher level care is necessary, patients are within a short distance by ambulance or helicopter from larger healthcare facilities in the metropolitan areas of Joplin, Springfield or Kansas City.

“Recently, we had our third child, and there was a small scare with our new son's kidney,” said Chelsea Deines, Dr. Turner’s patient. “Dr. Turner promptly made referrals to St. Luke’s and Children’s Mercy when needed. I felt like the team in Nevada was very involved in both my son's and my health. Although Nevada is smaller and there are more choices and specialties in bigger cities, I have felt like the staff and doctors in Nevada are able to take care of most things here and I have confidence that a referral will be made when needed.”

In rural settings, doctors and patients tend to form relationships that increase health benefits in rural settings. The doctor is not only able to reach the patient in a shorter time than in an urban setting, but may frequently see the patient outside of the office, as a friend and neighbor. The doctor can relate to the patient’s way of life.

“I am a mental health professional, and I know the importance of feeling like a person, rather than a patient lost in the numbers,” Deines said. “Being able to establish and maintain these personal relationships is a great thing for the mind and spirit.”

During her residency and fellowship training, Dr. Turner experienced practicing medicine in an urban setting and testifies to the benefits of rural healthcare.

“Urban medicine is much less personal. There are not as many opportunities to interact with patients outside of your medical practice and it becomes more difficult to discuss personal issues with them when you have little personal perspective. I grew up on a small farm in a small town and this makes it easier for me to relate to the workers in this area.”

Dr. Turner recently moved from private practice setting to providing care as an employee of NRMC, where she says she benefits from having more time to focus on patient care.

“Working in an employed position setting allows a physician to focus more on taking care of patients and less on the business of medicine,” Dr. Turner said. “NRMC’s electronic medical record is able to offer extra patient-centered perks as well as easier access to specialists. The Patient Portal through NRMC allows patients to communicate directly with their physician electronically. Lab results and consultation notes are integrated across many specialties throughout the hospital system.”

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About Nevada Regional Medical Center

Serving a six-county area since 1937, Nevada Regional Medical Center is a 71-bed acute, intensive and skilled care hospital. Nevada Regional Medical Center has earned recognition as a respected regional medical center for its comprehensive health care services, skilled and caring employees and state-of-the-art medical technology. Staff represent more than a dozen medical specialties, including family practice, women’s services, neurology, urology, psychiatry, orthopedics, wound care services, and general, vascular, thoracic and oncological surgery. Additionally, consultation clinics are held regularly by specialists in oncology, pulmonology, podiatry, ear, nose, and throat and cardiology.


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