Emerson, NE (KTIV) – Some rural communities across the country are facing serious barriers to accessing high quality health care.
The closure of rural hospitals and a growing physician shortage only add to the difficulties.
“We are in a shortage area as far as getting providers to patients here,” Emerson Medical Clinic Manager Lori Minert said.
Rural communities across the United States have seen gaps in healthcare over the years.
“I think when access is denied to healthcare, people put off going to see a provider and the longer you put off treatment, the longer you put off diagnosis, the worse the outcomes can kind of be,” Minert said.
To help bridge that gap and work to provide preventative care to people, the Pender Community Hospital opened the Emerson Medical Clinic and Apothecary.
“It’s full circle,” Minert said. “They do not have to go out of town for anything.”
One of the new things this clinic offers is an x-ray machine. Clinic officials said they used to have to send patients down to Pender to get their x-rays. Now having this machine adds another layer of patient care.
“They can have lab services, they can have x-ray services, and they can get their prescription filled if they need ones,” Minert said.
“Access to prescription medications is very vital in rural areas,” Emerson Apothecary Pharmacist, Jordan Hanson said.
On top of having convenient access to the clinic next door, the pharmacy also provides Telepharmacy.
“You have access to a pharmacist via like a Skype or a Facetime” Hanson said.
Hanson said Telepharmacy is a huge benefit for rural communities especially for over the counter medicine questions.
“Live time we would be able to visit and Jen would be able to answer my questions or a pharmacist would be able to answer my questions about the allergy medication that I’m trying to buy,” Hanson said.
“The convenience of this will help with adherence which improves outcomes and improves patients quality of life and health,” Hanson said.
“The earlier people get healthcare, the better outcomes and that’s our goal is to always have good outcomes for everybody,” Minert said.
The clinic is open Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. The pharmacy is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm.
Minert said they hope to add Tuesdays and Thursdays at the clinic hours in the future.