Springfield healthcare providers reach out to serve rural communities

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) – Emergency rooms are a vital part of our healthcare system, but the nearest emergency room could be an hour’s drive away for many people in rural areas.

In Springfield, CoxHealth and Mercy are the largest healthcare providers, but for those outside the metro area, emergency care might be more difficult to come by.

Mercy Lebanon administrator Nicki Gamet says some patients drive up to 30 minutes to receive care. If someone has an emergency like a heart attack or stroke, a few minutes can make a difference in life or death. Medications, procedures and some tests must be administered in a timely manner to save a person’s life. CoxHealth and Mercy are working to find ways to treat patients closer to home.

CoxHealth and Mercy have eight locations outside of Springfield, including Mountain View, Lebanon and Cassville. If these centers did not exist, some patients would need to drive an hour or more before they could receive care. Both health care providers use these small health centers to help people get the emergency care they need.

“Having the emergency department in our rural areas cuts that time in half or even you know less than that and that’s important because we need to be able to see them diagnose, stabilize them and bring them to a higher level of care on the day. as quickly as possible. possible if that’s what’s needed, ”Gamet said.

These emergency services are starting to close the gap for those who live miles away from a larger hospital. The technology is being used to help small hospitals that may not have specialists on staff.

“In addition, we provided continuous capacity for small emergency rooms; examples would be our telestroke capability, ”said Amanda Hedgpeth, vice president of hospital operations at CoxHealth. “So an emergency department that isn’t here in Springfield could actually have one of our neurologists take a virtual tour through a computer to help administer drugs or life-saving procedures.”

If that medical help is far away, you may have to shoulder more of the burden of healthcare before an emergency occurs.

“Knowing that often in rural communities your resources can be more dispersed, it is really important to know where your basic health lies. Really pay attention to these signals and what your body is telling you and seek care sooner than you would in an area where you have access to care a little faster, ”Hedgpeth said.

In the United States, the Centers for Diseas Control reports that someone has a heart attack every 40 seconds. Symptoms may include chest pain, feeling faint, dizziness, or fainting. You might also have a cold sweat. If you have these symptoms don’t wait. Get help immediately.

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