Medical Services expanding in northern Nye

In a continued effort to provide access to critical health care services for Tonopah and the surrounding area, Northern Nye County Hospital District announced two collaborations that organizers said will expand services in that region.

The Regional Emergency Medical Services Authority (REMSA) and Renown Health have both entered into agreements with the Northern Nye County Hospital District for a phased expansion of services over the next year.

“The Northern Nye County Hospital District is proud to collaborate with REMSA and Renown to expand on the much-needed services for the thousands of residents in Central Nevada,” Justin Zimmerman, a Northern Nye County Hospital District Board trustee, said in a statement this week.

“Together, we are innovating rural health care delivery, creating new ways for residents to access medical care while preserving their local, independent way of life,” he said.

Tonopah has been without a hospital since August 2015 when Nye Regional Medical Center closed. The closure means patients, including the sick and injured, need to travel more than 100 miles to reach the nearest hospitals in Bishop, California and in Hawthorne, Nevada.

REMSA has recently launched an exclusive phone number for the Nurse Health Line for northern Nye County residents, 775-482-3377. The free, 24/7 call-in line is staffed with registered nurses providing assessment, care recommendations and/or referrals to appropriate health care or community services.

Northern Nye County residents are encouraged to call the Nurse Health Line for illnesses, injuries and symptoms including a sore throat, minor burns, arm or leg pain/injury, cough/cold/flu symptoms, falls, vomiting, rash, low fever, minor pains, sprains/strains, earaches and nosebleeds. However, people should continue to call 911 for emergencies.

Future phases of the REMSA expansion will include locally-based, 24/7 community paramedics, as well as community wellness and public education initiatives.

Renown, in partnership with the Northern Nye County Hospital District, will be expanding on the care already being provided to residents since it opened the medical group in June 2016 at the former Nye Regional Medical Center, 825 S. Main St.

Primary and specialty care services using telehealth technology were initially offered, with more than 1,500 appointments in the medical office last year. The medical group later expanded to include lab and X-ray, with more than 700 appointments in 2017 for these services.

Medical office hours have recently expanded to 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Urgent care and occupational health services have also been added to Renown’s Telehealth offering, including drug and alcohol testing, as well as treatment and follow-up after a work-related incident.

Plans to expand care will include adding additional telehealth services based on the needs of the community, increasing testing and treatment capacity, and evaluation of hiring an on-site provider. These are in addition to the quarterly visits by a doctor already available.

“The hospital district is excited to be a part of the ongoing effort to help community partners offer the best care possible to our residents,” Zimmerman said. “This care model can serve as an example to rural communities across the country by providing critical access to health care services so people don’t have to travel hundreds of miles for care.”

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