The Norman Transcript

Nation/World

June 8, 2014

Rural clinics increasingly turn to telemedicine

(Continued)

WAGNER, S.D. —

Wagner, a one-stoplight town with a handful of gas stations, one pharmacy and a phonebook dominated by a few last names, is 110 miles from Sioux Falls, home to the nearest trauma center.

For Bryan Slaba, CEO of the Wagner hospital, Avera’s telemedicine service has helped him recruit and retain medical residents and physicians.

“The younger docs embraced it because they have all the support mechanism around them when they’re going through residency,” said Slaba, whose hospital joined the network in 2008 with the help of a federal grant. “They get out in this rural community, and they look around and there’s nobody around for 60 miles.”

Soukup made a full recovery but now leaves most of the farmwork to his son-in-law so he can spend winters in Arizona with his wife, Linda.

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