One of the changes in health care in recent years: is the dramatic growth of physician assistants.
In fact, in rural health care, the change has made a big difference.
Carla Burbidge was in Mohall for this week's Eye on Health.
Practicing medicine in rural North Dakota is certainly unique says Dick Page, the Physician Assistant at the Trinity Clinic in Mohall. Whether it's a bad toe, or something much more serious, Page sees a variety of health issues. Page works closely with physicians at Trinity in Minot and has lots of support.
(Dick Page, Mohall Physician Assistant) "We extend their practice, they have the training, we work with them."
Page has been practicing in Mohall nearly six years, and when he came to town, the clinic had been closed for awhile. So, the community is glad that he is here.
(Dick Page, Mohall Physician Assistant) "I see 80-100 patients a week, and prescribe many medications."
Page was named the North Dakota physician assistant of the year in 2011. Besides serving the Mohall area, he volunteers in Minot at the Free Clinic and for Domestic Violence, and he travels to 3rd world countries on medical missions.
(Dick Page, Mohall Physician Assistant) "People wonder why I do it, I get a lot out of it, working with other physicians."
One reason Page relocated to Mohall from Kansas, is that he was offered regular clinic hours. Yet, he's says its a privilege to work with such good North Dakota people, and
it is not unusual for him to make house calls.
(Dick Page, Mohall Physician Assistant) "The know my number and I will see them."
P.A.s and other mid level practitioners have become common is medicine, and the numbers are growing rapidly. They are well respected, and are essential to fill the gap in health care, particularly in rural areas.
For Eye on Health I'm Carla Burbidge.