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Tonopah could get urgent care clinic

Tonopah could get an urgent care clinic this year, an official familiar with the matter said.

Russell Pillers, a biomedical engineer and owner Biowerx Consulting, LLC, who has been working with Northern Nye County Hospital District as a consultant since October 2018 told the Tonopah Times-Bonanza that he is currently trying to develop a concert of urgent care for Tonopah.

He said that a for-profit company from Las Vegas is interested in opening urgent care clinic in Tonopah. Northern Nye County Hospital District is now working with a company and is yet to determine how urgent care is going to run.

“We can’t just plop urgent care in Tonopah, and call it good because that’s not enough,” Pillers said. “So we are working closely with this company to add extra features so it still would close at 7 p.m. and only be open 6 days a week, but the people in Tonopah will have the ability to get care at that facility (during) after hours.”

“We don’t know yet about how it’s going to happen, what rules and regulations we are going to face. … As of now, the company is willing to work with us to do that because they understand that Tonopah needs something very different than a classic urgent care model,” he said.

“The two extra items that we are trying to implement in this particular instances of an urgent care is the-off-hours access and the ability to triage critical patients,” he said.

The company is not asking for subsidies from the hospital district. Millers said it will have to acquire the land to open a clinic.

“We don’t necessarily have a piece of land secured yet. The plan is once the land is acquired that they will have offsite manufactured building placed on that site,” he said.

Nye Regional Medical Center in Tonopah closed its doors in August 2015 due to financial problems, making the nearest hospitals more than 100 miles away. Non-profit healthcare network Renown Health had opened a telemedicine clinic in Tonopah in June 2016 but the facility didn’t have a full-time medical professional on site until recently.

Renown hired a full-time physician assistant for Tonopah in late 2018. Pillers said that “a lot of effort” is going into making sure that the services provided by Renown won’t overlap with those provided by an urgent care clinic.

He said that there’s no plan to replace or eliminate the Renown clinic. In addition, he said that volunteer ambulance is going to continue to operate in Tonopah with support of Remsa.

“There’s no plan for Renown to change what they are doing,” Pillers said.

The proposed clinic not intended to be a replacement for the now-shuttered Nye Regional but Pillers said it will be “a step in that direction.”

“What we are shooting for is that if you are a mother, and in the middle of the night your child spikes a fever of 105 degrees, you won’t be alone like they are right now. … The other plus of the urgent care will be the ability to triage critical patients. Acute patients still will have to be transported to a higher level of care, but there’s that need to triage the patients before they are transported. This urgent acre plus is going to be designed to meet that need,” Pillers said.

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