Newspaper Archive of
Pahrump Mirror
Pahrump, Nevada
March 20, 1997     Pahrump Mirror
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March 20, 1997

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,. Pahrump Valley Gazette, Thursday, March 20, 1997 7 Nye Regional Medical Center is like no other By Brent Mathewson All things are not equal and apparently that includes the ser- vice and charges for services at the Nye Regional Medical Cen- ter (NRMC) Clinic versus the two county clinics operating in Beatty and Amargosa. Sparked by a complaint by Tonopah resident, Kevin Finn. it took the Gazette little time or effort to substantiate charges of poor service and high prices available at the NRMC Clinic. When Finn first contacted the Gazette on March 10, 1997, he almost livid with rage. His two sons, age 17 and 19, had that day, for unrelated reasons, both tried to get medical care at the NRMC clinic. Both young men had been informed that there was a two week waiting list and if they needed medical help they would have to go to the emergency room at NRMC. The 17 year old had an ear infection that was severe enough that it had crossed over to the opposite ear causing considerable ,J/fin. The 19 year old, on the other hand, had a serious case of bronchitis and unable to swallow. Both young men were charged $ I 10 tbr the emergency room and $40 for the attention given them by the doctor. There were no X-rays or lab tests involved with either of their visits. There was apparently nothing out of the ordinary or exceptional about these cases at all. A few minutes with a doctor and prescriptions for their medication was involved. The medicine for the ear infec- tion cost $80 and tbr the sore throat $65. When it was all over, which didn't take long. Finn was looking at bills totaling $445. The Gazette contacted Roger Mayers who is the administrator at the facility and who is paid by the county to run the operation. When asked what the average waiting time was for a person to be able to use the clinic, Mayers replied, "About a week to a week and a half." He was then asked how many days a week and what hours of the day the clinic was open. He stated, "It's supposed to be open 5 days but it's not. It probably averages about 4 days a week. The hours vary. Sometimes it doesn't open until 10 o'clock or so." When asked what the standard fee was for an office call at the clinic Mayers said he didn't know. Mayers was also unaware of what the minimum charge was for the emergency room. Mayers was asked. "If a person has an earache and they don't want to wait a week or a week and a half for medical care what should they do? He replied, "Well, basically they have two choices. They can either go someplace else or they can go to the emergency room." The Gazette was informed by "Sheila" at the NRMC Clinic that the minimum fee for a first time office call at the clinic was $56 and $44 for future visits. Slaeila also gtamd that the awrc,, fee 1or use of the emergency room was $85 to $150 and did not include the doctor fee. Funher inquiry at the Beatty and Amargosa Medical Clinics revealed that the average waiting time for a patient to receive medical attention was half hour at both locations. At the Beatty Clinic patients are sometimes seen immediately. Both clinics are open 5 days a week and the hours are 9 am to 5 pro. The Amar- gosa Clinic is closed from noon to 1 pm unless they have patients in which case they do not close. The standard fee. for an office call is identical at both Beatty and Amargosa and is $60 for a new patient and $44 after that. This is a base price and the fee works on a sliding scale. If you are in a low income group you pay less. Complaints about the County's medical facility in Tonopah are by no means confined to the Finn family. Although most residents did not wish for their names to be used in print, they did speak freely and their gripes had a common ring. Some stated that if you went to the emergency room in Tonopah and the treatment received was inadequate or unsuc- cessful for any reason the only solution available in Tonopah was another trip to the emergency room. No conversation or advice over the telephone is available at NRMC. Yet, when a I 00hoshone 00esert raft Croft 3fiow March 21st Thru 23rd Shoshone, California For exhibitor information call: (619) 852-4254 or (707) 727-5460 VALLEY DENTAL GI00OUP SAME DAY SERVICE Denture Reline and Repoir 1420 E. State Highway 372 Pahrump, NV, 89041 727-6615 resident of Tonopah calls the clinic in Bishop, California the people in that clinic reportedly bend over backwards nying to assist in any way they can on the telephone. Ifa trip to that clinic is deemed to be necessary fbr medical treatment and they are asked how long it would be belbre a doctor could see the Tonopah patient the answer is always the same. How soon can you get here? Reportedly, a call to the NRMC emergency room inquiring as to when a doctor would be available is always met with an answer that is 3 hours sooner than it turns out to be. There seemed to this writer to be a general feeling of dismay and disgust, on the part of the people interviewed, that the Tonopah residents were being blamed in the press for not sup- porting NRMC and that was the reason behind its present cata- strophic financial problems. A few people were emphatic in stating that they could go in three directions from Tonopah and receive quicker and cheaper medical care than that available from NRMC and this included the cost of the trip and travel time to get there. 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