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Tonopah medical: Long distances a challenge

Updated April 9, 2019 - 1:14 pm

Editor’s note: This is part of 2 in a series

While Renown’s clinic has been opened for the last several years in Tonopah, the town still lacks an emergency room.

The nearest emergency room is located in Hawthorne, Nevada and Bishop, California, over 100 miles away.

In February 2018, Tonopah received the new set of ambulances that were built by Northstar Emergency Vehicles in Chehalis, Washington. Emergency medical transportation in Tonopah is largely supported by the Tonopah Volunteer Ambulance Service made up of local community members.

Lisa Logan, a new physician assistant at Renown’s clinic, called transportation of the patients in Tonopah a “huge issue.”

“Transportation is a huge issue in Tonopah, so whether it is routine testing or emergent issues, it can be difficult to get patients to locations where they can be evaluated further,” Logan said. “An ambulance is sometimes the only means of transportation, which means if it’s dealing with something less urgent, we run the risk of not having an ambulance for something more emergent.”

Prior to Logan coming on board, Renown clinic in Tonopah had a telemedicine option available that allowed to get a medical consultation through a telehealth video conferencing technology. The clinic also offers on-site lab testing.

Logan said that Tonopah is more isolated than other areas where she has previously worked, but added that she has previous experience working in rural areas and in primary and urgent care settings.

When asked about what has been her biggest accomplishment in terms of helping her patients, she said: “Just being in Tonopah and having hands-on treatment with patients—I think this is a big accomplishment. It’s also amazing to see people who have been sick for long periods of time improve.”

Although Logan was brought on for primary care, she said she sees a lot of urgent care issues.

“Once the urgent issue is treated, it is often difficult to get patient to follow-up with primary care. I would like to see more people coming in for their primary care needs. Transportation has also been a significant issue so it can be challenging for patients to get their tests done when they need to be completed out of town and there is no transportation to get them to where they need to be.

Logan didn’t say how long she plans to continue her tenure in Tonopah.

“I am enjoying my job and currently have no plans to leave Tonopah,” she said.

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