Oct 5, 2023Liked by Austin Goss

Congrats to Shantel and her family.

Our two boys have given us (and probably will continue to…) ample opportunity to give Avera money over the last four years. And despite our “rural” designation, it’s pretty clear that we don’t suffer from a dearth of medical talent in Pierre, but we do lack the management talent to creatively leverage it. 

For example, why is it that people in Pierre can’t see someone in urgent care after noon on Saturdays? Why is it that urgent care - perhaps staffed by a nurse, rather than a doctor (if need be) is not open next door to the emergency room so that non-emergency incidents can be dealt with in the appropriate setting?

The advancements of telehealth are terrific, but why stop there -- why is it that Avera hasn’t leveraged technology like ZocDoc, for example, to provide patients with willing doctors and nurses after hours and on weekends? 

Our family is hopeful that she’ll bring some simple innovation right away - not only for the community but also the medical professionals who serve us so well.

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Pierre certainly suffers from a lack of medical talent. If you are in need of anything other than basic healthcare, you better have the time and resources to pack your bags to see a specialist for any chronic ailment. Try needing an allergist, cardiologist, endocrinologist, gastroenterologist, neurologist, pulmonologist, or rheumatologist - just to name a few. I hope you realize how lucky you are that you simply want more access to urgent care and have never had to suffer the long drive to Sioux Falls for a 10 minute appointment with a specialist and then the long drive back to Pierre. The day off of work (with lost wages for many) along with the price of transportation to make it there. With any luck, you'll have a friend or relative in SF that you can stay with, or add the cost of a hotel room onto the trip. If it's a chronic condition, plan for that trip multiple times a year just for routine medical care.

The simple answer to your question about the urgent care hours is staffing. Avera is already utilizing travelers to cover the shifts they have. I'd rather they focus on recruiting specialists to take the burden off those who are forced to travel for care right now, rather than urgent care issues. You already have the option of utilizing virtual visits for urgent care needs.

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