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Public Health

Nye County Gets $20,000 Boost From State For Volunteer EMS

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Nye Regional Medical Center, located in Tonopah, closed in August of 2015.

The closure of a Tonopah hospital last year, the only one in a 100-mile radius, has put a huge strain on local volunteer EMS crews.

That region’s struggle highlights pervasive health care challenges facing rural Nevada. Reno Public Radio’s Noah Glick reports.

With the closure of Nye Regional Medical Center, rural patients in central Nevada must now be transported to either Hawthorne or Bishop, Calif. for care.

“Our transports went from 20 minutes to four-to-seven hours.”

That’s Vance Payne, the director of Emergency Management for Nye County. He says more than two-thirds of the 869 calls for service last year were for hospital transports.

“We’re really not that much different than a lot of the country,” he says. “This isn’t a Nevada problem. It’s not a Nye County problem. It’s a rural America problem.”

The issue has prompted the state to provide a $20,000 training grant to help EMTs shift from paper to digital patient records.

Right now, those records are often incomplete, meaning they can’t be submitted for billing. Payne says the grant could help change that, and bring in as much as $10,000 a month.

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