MCMC Offering Telemedicine Appointments

17 Apr 2020 News

Mountrail County Medical Center is now offering virtual visits through telemedicine. 

For non-urgent visits such as medication refills, routine follow-up appointments, etc., they are encouraging all patients to consider the telemedicine visits.

Tammie Braaflat, FNP says that from a Primary Care Provider perspective they are able to still offer the same level of care, without requiring unnecessary travel during the pandemic. Patient’s routine healthcare needs have not stopped due to COVID-19 and medical conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma and depression can all be managed through telemedicine. Feedback from the patient perspective has been overwhelmingly positive as most patients needing routine care are also being very cautious with leaving their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Telemedicine is not new, especially in rural areas. Mental health, psychologists and counseling professionals have used this method for quite some time, and most specialty visits through the VA Health System are done by Telehealth.

Braaflat says it is easy for a patient to switch their currently scheduled appointment to telemedicine. They would just need to call the receptionist at the Clinic at the Mountrail County Medical Center and ask them to make the switch.

Patients can also schedule new appointments the same way. Patients that are unsure if they need an appointment can call the clinic. If the receptionist is unsure, they will transfer you to a nurse for more information.

There are many ways to use the technology at the clinic beyond the telemedicine. Patients can email their provider through the patient portal. That allows them to directly message their provider with simple questions like whether they need an appointment. The receptionist should be able to help you set up the patient portal if you have not already done so.

Telemedicine appointments are very easy to navigate with a computer, tablet or smartphone. It uses video and audio allowing patients and their provider can to see each other. Patients without access to a smartphone, computer, tablet etc. can visit with their provider over the phone.

The clinic has been working to set up schedules for all providers as they face the potential challenges with COVID-19. There is a designated provider on-call 24/7 to manage acute emergent and non-emergent patient concerns.  Patients with acute healthcare concerns are urged to contact the clinic directly during normal business hours to speak with a nurse to arrange for the most appropriate visit.

Currently most of our acute visits are being managed through the Emergency Department by the Emergency Provider on-call. Any patient with fever, cough, or any other respiratory symptoms are being treated and screened separately in specially designated area of the hospital. 

A different provider is on staff in the clinic for non-acute/non-urgent clinic services and taking care of the residents in the Bethel Home. Braaflat said she had been working in the clinic for the past two weeks, which has also lowered her exposure risk to potential COVID-19 patients.

This helps to ensure they are taking the best care possible for all patients, and especially those in the nursing home. Braaflat says that a lot of planning has been going on to ensure the care provided within the hospital, clinic, and Bethel Home is done in the safest manner taking into consideration the fragile nature of the nursing home population.

Braaflat says that for the last two weeks most of her clinic visits have been telehealth visits. Anyone that has called has been encouraged to schedule their visits through telehealth if possible. She says that they

have been handling a wide range of visits this way, including those health conditions like diabetes, etc., as well as rashes, prescription refills and more. If during the visit they determine a patient needs to have lab work, or radiology they are ordering the appropriate tests at which time the patient would have to come to the hospital.

With the MCHC campus doors locked, Braaflat says patients might drive by and see an empty parking lot. This is because of the telehealth. A lot of time and energy has gone into planning how to best take care of the community, patients and residents. They are still there wanting to provide the services patients need, especially during this stressful time when more people are facing uncertainty with employment, anxiety and depression. She says it is important that patients can still access their primary care.

Braaflat also says that Medicare and many insurance companies have removed many of the restrictions on telehealth visits, meaning they can bill insurance just like a regular clinic visit.

Connecting to your provider for a telemedicine appointment is very easy. You go to the Mountrail County Health Center webpage at On the home page there are links to connect to each of the providers. You check in within a few minutes of your appointment time and are connected.

Virtual physical therapy visits are also possible for patients for follow up appointments. The initial appointment would be conducted face-to-face, but follow up appointments may be done virtually.

This article has been republished with the gracious consent of the Mountrail County Promoter.

Press Release Re: Patient Movement

30 Mar 2020 News

March 29th, 2020

RE: Patient Movement

To continue to offer the best care to our patients and nursing home residents, Mountrail County Health Center will be instituting a new policy for all patients arriving at MCHC.  Starting on Monday, March 30th 2020 the following changes will be made:

  • All patients presenting to MCHC with any respiratory symptoms (congestion, cough, fever, sore throat, runny nose, etc.) will be triaged and screened through the Emergency Department entrance.
  • Patients being seen in the Rural Health Clinic for unrelated symptoms will continue to be screened for any of the above symptoms, and will be redirected to the ED entrance if screening criteria is met.
  • The Rural Health Clinic will continue to see patients for acute, non-emergent visits only.
  • We have deployed a telemedicine platform to use in the Rural Health Clinic for routine visits, and those patients who do not need to be seen on site.  If you had a scheduled visit and our healthcare team determines this may be an option for you, you will be contacted about this prior to your appointment. For more information, please see our home page at
  • Physical Therapy will remain open on a case by case basis as determined by our Physical Therapist.
  • Routine lab work and radiology services will be on a case by case basis as determined by your Primary Care Provider. 

If you feel you feel need to be seen for a healthcare concern in the near future we are asking that you call MCHC first, so that we may triage your symptoms and direct you to the proper location.

*** (701) 628-2505

MCHC will continue to keep our community updated as this situation evolves.  We would like to thank our patients for being understanding during this rapidly changing situation. 

COVID-19 Precautions at MCHC

23 Mar 2020 News

March 19th, 2020

Re: Precautions at MCHC

Mountrail County Health Center is dedicated to providing excellent patient care in a safe environment. With the recent nationwide outbreak of COVID-19, we are implementing several precautions that will protect our residents, patients, and staff.

  • We have implemented an employee screening procedure upon entry to the building.
  • We have discontinued use of the Main Entrance and moved hospital admittance “check in” desks away from the entrance to the nursing home.

For the foreseeable future, patients checking in for:

                Regularly scheduled outpatient appointments should check in at clinic reception

                ER or Walk-in patients should check in at the ER door (south side of building)

                All patients will be screened for symptoms PRIOR to entrance.

  • We have restricted foot traffic through the nursing home to essential personnel only.
  • We are following the CDC and ND State Department of Health’s Recommendations regarding communal dining, minimum spacing rules, and group activities for all nursing home residents.
  • We have increased the number of times that frequently touched surfaces throughout the facility are sanitized.
  • All departments are continuing with regular appointments at this time.

Again – if you feel you need to be seen for COVID-19 at MCHC **YOU MUST CALL THE RURAL HEALTH CLINIC IN ADVANCE** to allow our nurses to triage each case individually.  701-628-2505

Please remember this is a fluid situation.  We will be posting more information as we receive guidance from the CDC and the ND State Department of Health. 

Employers: Guidelines For Ill Employees

18 Mar 2020 News

March 18th, 2020

RE: Information for Local Employers

Mountrail County Medical Center is dedicated to caring for our community.  We are asking our local employers to be extremely flexible with their employees that may fall ill. 

Please DO NOT direct your employees to the Mountrail County Medical Center for a work note/work release.  Mountrail County Medical Center remains committed to following guidelines from the CDC and ND Dept of Health.  We recommend all sick employees quarantine at home for at least 5 days and up to 14 days.  Providers at MCMC will not provide clearance to return to work prior to a 14 day quarantine, again taking into consideration information being filtered through the CDC and ND Department of Health.

Employees that you feel need to be seen at MCMC **MUST CALL THE RURAL HEALTH CLINIC IN ADVANCE** to allow our nurses to triage each case individually.  701-628-2505

At this time, testing for COVID-19 type illness is being offered to those patients with severe symptoms or risk factors for severe disease.  The majority of patients with COVID-19 like symptoms can be managed safely at home, without the need for medical care. 

Employees with severe symptoms, namely trouble breathing, should report to the Emergency Department as usual.

Employees should be symptom free before returning to work.    

Thank you for your attention in this matter,

MCHC Staff

Help and Hope for North Dakota Residents

25 Feb 2020 News

According to the North Dakota Suicide Prevention Plan 2017-2020, approximately 117 Americans die by suicide daily.  For North Dakota residents ages 15-24, suicide is the second leading cause of death.  Do these statistics scare you?  They should.  Especially given the fact that in North Dakota, the suicide rate is 25% higher than the national average, and information gathered during the 2019 CHNA indicates that residents of Stanley are struggling as well.   As part of the Community Health Implementation Plan, a formal response to the Needs Assessment, Mountrail County Medical Center pledges to place a high priority on mental health, and to assist community members get the help they need. 

Stephanie Everett, MCMC CEO and Foundation Director stated, “We can no longer allow the mental health struggles of our community to go unchecked.  We know, that with mental health, each day, each moment actually counts, and Medical Center staff need to get proactive and build resources to be a part of the solution.”  At MCMC, our ultimate goal is to transform the community by encouraging confident communication about mental health so our residents know how, where, and when to ask for help.  We want to reach people before they enter a state of crisis (mentally), and encourage growth of coping skills as well as decrease stigma. 

As part of this effort, the Mountrail County Health Foundation has invited Kora Dockter and Alison Traynor to speak at the annual Women’s Expo.  This event will take place on March 9th, 2020 at Rosen Place on 8th, from 5-7 PM.  The theme for this year is “Healthy Mind for a Healthy You”, and will focus on achieving health from the inside out.  Guest speakers Alison and Kora will be giving the talk “Reaching Zero Suicide: Defining Your Role and Spreading Hope”, and will draw on their years of experience in the field and personal experience to call attendees to action. 

Kora Dockter, BSN, NDSPC Chair

Kora Dockter has served as the ND Suicide Prevention Coalition Chair for the last 4 years and lead a statewide call for healthcare system-wide improvement, working along-side Governor Burgum. Kora has worked as a pediatric nurse for over 20 years, serving and advocating for individual children and youth with special healthcare needs and their families and later, at the healthcare system level in her pioneering work championing ND’s Asthma Action Plans and the Medical Home model. Kora is a popular public speaker and advocate in North Dakota for her public health perspective on the suicide crises impacting North Dakotans of all ages.

In 2014 Kora Dockter lost her adult son, Steven to suicide. After a long battle with depression, Steven was discharged from a local psychiatric hospital without as much as a brochure or a discharge plan. Upon his discharge, Kora was told “the place is doing him more harm than good”. 

“As a pediatric nurse, I trusted the healthcare system to provide a standard of care. After all, my parents had been hospitalized at the very same hospital and received excellent care and discharge planning, but I discovered that my son was on the wrong floor with the wrong diagnosis”. 

Kora Dockter applies her 20+ years if nursing experience with best practice care coordination practices to shed light on how treating suicide like any other disease can save lives. Kora will also share her very personal walk with God who through it all was able to bring hope back into her life. 

Alison Traynor, LSW

Alison has served North Dakotans for the past eleven years as a licensed social worker, primarily in crisis response, training and coordination for behavioral health, including human trafficking, intimate partner violence and suicide. Through this work, Alison found that, in ND crisis situations, suicide risk was often a part of the picture and that most helping professionals are unprepared when it came to suicide. Alison has since dedicated herself to research in suicide prevention, intervention and postvention (supporting communities left behind after a suicide loss).

For the past five years, Alison has worked to mobilize statewide suicide prevention efforts as the Director of Suicide Prevention and founding member of the non-profit, ND Suicide Prevention Coalition.  Alison specializes in suicide and violence prevention, holds a Master of Public Health, Policy and Administration, a social work license and will graduate in 2020 with a master’s in social work. In 2019, Alison was named 40 under 40 in Public Health by the de Beaumont Foundation. If you are interested in hearing Kora and Alison speak at the annual “Women’s Expo” on March 9th please call the clinic at 701-628-2505 to reserve your spot.  Limited seating is available – deadline to RSVP is March 4th, 2020.

Offering Patients Hope

12 Feb 2020 News

This article has been published with the gracious consent of the Mountrail County Promoter.

You assume that you know the face of opiate addiction. You believe you can tell just by looking at a person, but that is not true. A person is  often struggling in plain sight. It affects all ages and demographics and could be anyone that you know.
Addiction to opioids can happen quickly and easily. Many times, it persists with that person not looking for the “high” but rather just struggling to feel normal. Withdrawal is so profound and so deep that the only way they can get by is to have that opiate on board. They seek it out just to try to have a normal life. It snowballs and takes over their life.
That is where a new program at the Mountrail County Medical Center’s Rural Health Clinic is looking to help. Abbey Ruland, PA and Tammie Braaflat, FNP are offering a MAT Program to help patients looking to move forward and through addiction to a successful and healthy life.
MAT stands for Medication-Assisted Treatment, a strategy for combating opioid use disorders that combines behavioral counseling with prescription medications containing buprenorphine, such a Suboxone.
By the time patients come to them, they say, they are often desperate. They may have lost their job or relationships to the drug addiction. They may have used up their financial resources to get more drugs. They say it is not in an attempt to get high, but rather to take away the horrible pain that comes with the addiction.
Both have taken the required coursework on how to prescribe the medications that will help and credit current CEO Ben Bucher for also having providers on staff in Cando that are part of the MAT programs. They are also working with them with the ECHO Project. Through the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences, the North Dakota Opioid Use Disorder TeleECHO gives providers a virtual learning network with other treatment providers. This program gives collaboration, support and ongoing learning with subject-matter experts and healthcare staff as they look for new ways to support patients in their home communities.
Ruland started her training while still working with Trinity in New Town. She finished that just before returning to practice in Stanley. Braaflat took her training in Bismarck in November and finished the online portion in December. They say that much of the training was in pharmacology and the science of chemical addiction. They learned about the different medications that could be used to treat the addiction and how each works, as well as the side effects and things to watch for during treatment.
It covered how to start the process, known as induction, and the protocols to follow so they do not cause sudden severe withdrawal. It included skills for interviewing and counseling patients. It is about spending the time getting to the bottom of the issue, including the “whys” and “hows” and how to change going forward.
They say it opened their eyes to the differences in the traditional ways to look at addiction and slip ups. Instead it needs to be treated like any other disease. Rather than condemning for a slip up or relapse, instead it is creating open dialog about the ups and downs in the process. It is about not condemning the patient, but rather helping them to avoid those issues in the future. They want to build honest and open relationships to be a pillar of hope for the patient.
Opioid addiction needs to be treated like any other disease. You don’t look at a diabetic and ask why they don’t stop eating or why they don’t just do what is necessary. You work with them. Addiction needs to be treated the same way.
The goal  is to help patients get their lives back on these medications. They want them to be able to regain a sense of normalcy that will allow them to function within their relationships and jobs.
Treatment with MAT will help patients in their own community. In the past patients have had to travel as far away as Bismarck. That is  not realistic if their whole life  then revolves on going that far to get the help they want.
Opioid addiction often starts with a prescription. The addiction happens so fast. For many it is a prescription after a surgery and then the patient finds they can’t go without it. It happens quickly and unexpectedly. It then turns into the need to get more pills, often on the street. It can also turn to a heroin addiction rather than pills because that is cheaper and easier to find.
The buprenorphine works to bind tightly to the receptors while providing no altered sense or euphoria. It allows the patient to get through the painful, profound withdrawal from the opioids.
The MAT program is open to patients ages sixteen and up. The buprenorphine can be used by pregnant patients. It is recognized by all major medical organization. Research shows that this treatment method shows better outcomes. It is not substituting one drug for another, but rather finding a way to help patients reach their goals.
Depending on where the patient is in their addiction and what opiates they are using, they will work with them as they stop and then start the buprenorphine. It is all timed out and dosages will be adjusted as needed. They say that everyone’s story is different, so they are focusing on helping each patient meet their goals. It is not an overnight fix, but they can get there.
It is hope in a hopeless situation. They want their patients to be able to see the light and help them get there. Like any other medical problem, the patient has to have the desire to get better. With open and honest conversation, they can help them get there. They will guide you through this to feel good again. They stress that  they want their patients to know that they are there with compassionate open minds to help. They want them to know they do not need to be scared or ashamed to ask for the help.
Although the program in Stanley has only started in the past few weeks, they already have patients that are benefitting from the program. Opioid addiction is a large issue in Mountrail County, but both are quick to point out that if  you are dealing with it or have a family member dealing with it just losing a single person is a big deal.
They have made sure that the pharmacy is carrying the medication that is dispensed by prescription. At the beginning of treatment, patients will likely be seen twice a week until they are stabilized with their withdrawal and treatment. It will then be based on patient needs, but likely at least monthly.
The length of treatment with buprenorphine will also depend on the patient. For some it could be a lifelong prescription. For others it could be working on a plan to get off it as well once the addiction is treated and their situation changes. That is no different than any other medical diagnosis like diabetes, heart conditions, blood pressure and more that require long-term or lifelong treatments.
You can schedule appointments with either Ruland or Braaflat by calling the clinic at 628-2505. If you are concerned about discussing addiction as the reason for making the appointment, they say that you can tell the scheduler you are looking for medication review or a checkup. They say that discretion is one of their highest priorities as they work towards their goal of wanting people to feel better and find hope for a better future.

Nominations Open For Long Term Caregiver Award

22 Jan 2020 News

January 1st, 2020 marks the beginning of the submission period for the North Dakota Long Term Care Association Caregiver Award.  This annual award recognizes employees across the state of North Dakota who go above and beyond their everyday duties to substantially enhance the quality of life for residents of long term care facilities.  The NDLTCA takes this time each year to honor and recognize those special employees who make a difference in the lives of North Dakota’s aging population.  Mountrail Bethel Home, a CMS 5 star rated nursing home, is proud to employ Director of Rosen Place Assisted Living Facility, Lauren Hysjulien, a previous winner of the award.  When asked about the award, Lauren stated, “It was a nice way to feel appreciated for all the hard work I had put in during the previous year”. “You don’t always know that the work you’re doing makes a difference, but receiving this award helped show me that even the little things can make someone’s day a little better”.   

Applications to nominate an employee can be picked up from the Director of Social Services, Kelly Gustavson, or can be found at the link here.  All employees working in North Dakota long term care facilities are eligible for this award, but MUST be nominated by a resident or family member to be considered.  This award will be judged based on how the nominated caregiver substantially enhances the quality of life of residents.  Mountrail Bethel Home’s motto is “nobody takes care of your like your own”.  Employees pride themselves on treating residents with the respect and dignity they would give their own family members, and this results in the top quality care we strive to provide.  Residents and family members are welcome to nominate more than one staff if applicable.  Winners of the award will be presented with a cash prize during the annual NDLTCA Spring Convention in Bismarck.  All nominees will receive a Certificate of Outstanding Achievement from the North Dakota Long Term Care Association, and will be listed in the Caregiver Booklet.   All entries must be postmarked by Friday, February 7th to:

North Dakota Long Term Care Association

1900 N 11th St

Bismarck, ND 58501

For more information, or for any questions, comments, or concerns, please contact Kelly Gustavson at 701-628-2424 ext. 118 or at

Mammography Unit Provides Services at Home

8 Oct 2019 News

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and that’s something that staff at Mountrail County Medical Center would like their patients to remember. Getting a mammogram is easier for patients in the Stanley area thanks to a Mammomat Revelation 3-D mammogram that was added to the radiology department last August.

Now a year into serving patients Mammography Technologist Beth Johnson, RT, says they have seen more than double the patients they thought they would see when they started offering the services last year. She says that patients are really happy with the ability to have the 3D mammogram done compared to the 2D that is offered with the mobile unit.

The 3D slice technology is especially valued by patients with dense or fibrous breast tissue. Many of those patients who receive a recall or follow up recommendation after having the 2D mammogram. That would mean a wait to get in to have the 3D mammogram done and result in a drive to at least Minot to have it done.

Because of the 3D technology, Johnson says, it is possible to catch issues earlier because they see deeper into the breast tissue. She says that dense tissue and cancerous tissues sometimes look the same, so the thin slices make it easier to differentiate.

Johnson says that patients are still scheduled one day per week, but if the demand rose additional days could be scheduled. She says that she has also been able to offer the services in the evening when she has two or three patients making the request. She says that makes it easier for women who work during the day with her ability to adjust the schedule.

She also wants patients to know that they do not need to feel self-conscious coming in for the mammogram. They have made the unit as pleasant, private and comfortable for patients as possible.

Mammogram recommendations call for a baseline at age 40 unless there is a family history or current issue that has a doctor recommending an earlier scan. There is not a “cut off” or “age out” date for mammograms, which are recommended yearly.

Johnson says that patients are grateful to have the 3D services. She says that patients should feel and know that they are getting the latest technology possible with the machine. The machine was purchased through funding from the Reiarson Trust. That money was set aside with specific conditions. It cannot help with operations at all for the hospital or clinic but can aid them by purchasing different equipment for the facility.

Getting a mammogram is a unique opportunity because it allows for early detection or peace of mind for patients. With Breast Cancer Awareness in October, now is the perfect time to schedule your mammogram, especially if you have been putting it off over concerns of travel time for a relatively short test.

This article is reprinted with the gracious consent of the Mountrail County Promoter.

Why have the bed numbers in MBH been decreasing over the years?

14 Mar 2019 Did You Know?

Did you know this about the Mountrail County Health Center? 

Over the past couple of years, members at the Mountrail County Health Center have been answering questions, comments or concerns they have heard on the street from patients, community members or employees. Over the next year, we will be revisiting these old Did You Know’s, taking the ones that need updating, and letting you know how we have changed it, hopefully for the better.  If you have a specific non-health related question you want an answer to, please email that question to

 Why have the beds at MBH been decreasing over the years?

For years, the Mountrail Bethel Home was a 57 bed skilled nursing home facility, with a waiting list.  Now, we are a 36 bed skilled nursing home facility with 12 beds on “layaway” (meaning they are not being used).  This is due to the “great depression lull.”  Within ten years, by 2029,  recent studies done by Strengthen ND show that our 65+ age group is projected to increase 45.4%, much due to the Baby Boomers aging. With that happening, we won’t be able to find an open bed in North Dakota.

We know here at the Mountrail Bethel Home that the landscape has changed.  More elderly are staying home longer or moving into Assisted Livings, rather than nursing homes. Over the next couple of years, a committee comprised of board members and MBH employees will be strategically planning what the future MBH will look like.  Should we build a 48 bed Nursing Home with an Alzheimer’s Wing?  Should we build a 36 bed nursing home and build more Assisted Living apartments?  Should we bring basic care into our nursing home care plan?

In order to move forward like we want to, we need to have immediate help from the community.  We need to fill our beds to 36 residents again.  Our care at MBH is top notch.  We love and deeply care for our residents and it shows.  The Mountrail Bethel Home has achieved the highest ranking for safety and quality from CMS a Nursing Home can reach – a 5 – Star rating.

We are up against a variety of obstacles, one being:   “Why is it so expensive to have our loved one in the Nursing home?”   Usually a loved one is in the nursing home because the family cannot take care of them at home anymore.  They are here at the Mountrail Bethel Home so that our qualified staff can take care of them with any needs that arise 24/7. With that being said, each resident care level is different.  There are 48 levels a resident may be in.  Each of those levels is set according to specific criteria.  The MDS Coordinator has a forty page complete assessment which is done every three months on each resident.  This assessment determines which level a resident falls into.  The assessment looks at the resident’s memory and cognitive state, any diagnoses they have that are being treated, how much assistance they require with their cares (dressing, eating, transferring, bathing, mobility, walking, toileting, and personal cares), if they need wound care, oxygen, IV, special cares, dietary needs, have incontinence, order changes, doctor visits, and a comprehensive review of their chart.

Rates in the nursing home are determined by the state of North Dakota every year in December based upon cost reports filed by each facility.  The reason the government has such a comprehensive influence on the rates is due to the fact that skilled nursing facilities are state and federally funded.  The state of ND has rate equalization.  We want it that way.  Rate equalization means that MBH charges the same rate for Medicaid patients versus Self Pay.  States like South Dakota do not have rate equalization.  Who picks up the tab on the low paying Medicaid rate are the self-pay nursing home residents.  That is why the state is seeing such a high rate of nursing homes closing.  The linked article shared by the North Dakota Long Term Care Association is heartbreaking at best.  (Nursing Homes Are Closing Across Rural America, Scattering Residents)

We here in Stanley don’t want to scatter our residents across ND and take them away from the community they grew up in and helped mold.  We are committed to this community, which is the reason we are building a 14 unit Assisted Living, Rosen Place on 8th, to allow our residents to not have to move to Minot and beyond when they see they need more care than their home can offer. That is also the reason we want to methodically plan the future footprint of the Mountrail Bethel Home.

Please contact Kelly Gustavson with any of your needs and questions by calling 628-2442, ext. 8618.  If you want further information in regards to where your loved one fits on the Long Term Care Decision tree, please go to  We sincerely thank you for your continued support of Mountrail County Medical Center and Mountrail Bethel Home!

Many Avenues…One Goal…Your Health!

Orthopedics Comes To Stanley

1 Mar 2019 News

A collaborative effort between Mountrail County Medical Center and McKenzie County Healthcare Systems will mean good things for Stanley area patients. As part of their efforts to bring more specialists into the T. H. Reiarson Rural Health Clinic, Dr. Ravindra Joshi and Dr. Leah Brewster, FNP-C will begin seeing patients in Stanley on Thursday, Feb. 28.

Joshi is bringing his many years of experience and prior service in northwestern North Dakota and northeastern Montana to McKenzie County Healthcare in Watford City and now also in Stanley. Certified in orthopedic surgery by American, Canadian, British and Indian examining bodies, Joshi received his Master of Orthopedic Surgery degrees from the University of Liverpool and the University of Bombay. He completed his orthopedic residency at St. Thomas and Guy’s Hospital Orthopedic program in London. He received advanced medical education through fellowship training in total joint replacement surgery at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center and New York Orthopedic Hospital.

In 2000 he moved to practicing medicine in North Dakota, specializing in total joint replacements of hip, knee and shoulder, sports related surgery, trauma surgery, shoulder rotator cuff repairs and related surgery, hand and foot surgery as a general specialist in Orthopedic Surgery.

Brewster, a Stanley High School graduate, earned her Associates Degree in Nursing from NDSCS in Wahpeton in 2003 and then her Bachelors Degree in Nursing from UND in Grand Fords in 2005. Her Doctorate Degree in Nursing was earned at NDSU in Fargo in 2013. She is certified by the American Association of Nurse Practitioners and is trained in Family Practice, so she can see patients of all age ranges. She worked cardiac and vascular medicine for four years after graduating and then went on to do orthopedic medicine. She has also done some walk in clinic work over the past year.

Having relocated his practice to Watford City in December last year, Joshi says that he has a goal of creating a rural network to take care of patients in their own communities. That is what will bring he and Brewster to Stanley each Thursday of the month. They plan to start out seeing patients from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and increase the times from there if patient load demands.

Surgeries would be done in Watford City, but they say that the patient oriented and focused care they can offer in a rural community like Stanley helps provides those services locally and help local clinics and hospitals flourish.

He started seeing patients in December in Watford City. He is involved in creating the orthopedic related portion of the surgical suites and equipment needed. They have been putting together the team needed to operate the surgical suites and should be able to offer the surgical procedures starting in mid-March with same day surgeries and then expanding into the in-patient procedures.

The outpatient satellite services offered in Stanley’s clinic will include orthopedic care for injuries, arthritis, sports injuries, carpal tunnel, rotator cuff, bunions and more. While any needed surgeries would be done in Watford City, patients will be able to have office procedures such as joint injections with cortisone and lubricant done in Stanley. They will also be able to offer testing including x-rays, labs, MRI, CT scans and physical therapy. Post-surgical visits will also be able to be done in Stanley.

Joshi says this will allow patients to recuperate and heal at home with their families rather than being in distant facilities. With the exception of surgery itself, examinations,  treatments and joint injections can be done close to home.

Joshi also says that his goal  in life is to do something for the communities and give back. With rural networking he says as a specialist he can do the majority of the work and then designate the right  person he trusts for the rest of the project. Creating rural networks makes it easier for residents to connect with what they need. A prime example is the adding of a good source of providers so people do not have to go elsewhere for medical care. That in turn supports the local community.

Brewster says that she serves as the peri-operative medical and orthopedic specialist provider. She  will coordinate the surgery with a patient’s primary care provider as well as considering any other factors or specialists that may be involved in the patient’s care. She will take care of scheduling the lab studies, x-rays, etc. and then  be involved in the risk assessment of patients making sure the patient is cleared and safe to proceed with the surgery. While in Stanley she will also be involved in seeing the patients for their orthopedic and trauma related needs.

While Joshi and Brewster continue to live in Minot, Brewster is doing most of her work remotely as the liaison and coordinator from Minot. She will be making the trip to the clinic in Stanley. Joshi is in Watford City Monday through Wednesday and then Stanley on Thursdays. He is holding Fridays for rural networking appointments.

The pair has a goal of offering high value and patients satisfaction outcome. They say they are there for the patients, providing the best orthopedic care to achieve that outcome. By rural facilities working together, they believe that there are many ways to provide better care for everyone while also realizing some cost savings.

Stephanie Everett, Foundation Director/P.R. and Marketing Director/Administrator in Training at MCHC, says that when the T.H. Reiarson Rural Health Clinic was built the goal was to host specialists and improve patient care in Stanley. This opportunity with Dr. Joshi and Brewster is one more step in offering patients the ability to receive the best quality care locally.

To schedule appointments, patients are asked to call  the Specialty Clinics of McKenzie County Health Systems at 701-444-8730. Patients contacting the Stanley clinic will be directed to that number for scheduling.

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