Submitted by Hugh Qualls
Mt. Grant General Hospital Administrator


Fifty years ago this month, Marcus Welby, MD premiered on TV (ABC Tuesday nights; seems like only yesterday). Robert Young played Dr. Welby, a dedicated and empathetic general practitioner who made house calls. Even in 1969, the idea of doctors making house calls was considered a thing of the past. Flash forward to 2019, less than one percent visit patients in their homes, which is why we are fortunate to have Sharon Ruch, MD on staff at Mt. Grant General. Dr. Ruch, accompanied by her Medical Assistant Starr, will soon be seeing some patients in the comfort of their own homes. Call Dr. Ruch’s office at 945-3668 if you have questions. She may not win any Emmy awards but Dr. Ruch will certainly win the appreciation of a grateful community.

In the news almost daily is the latest sad update on the nation’s opioid crisis. Our state is not immune to the tragedy; more than 400 Nevadans died in 2017 as a result of opioid-involved overdoses (2018 numbers will be out soon). While recent court decisions and legal settlements will likely provide funds to support treatment programs and pain management alternatives, it will be local efforts across the Silver State that will make a lasting difference in Mineral County and beyond. With that in mind, Mt. Grant General is partnering with a Board Certified/ Fellowship Trained Pain Medicine Specialist, Dr. Nels Dahlgren from Carson City. He will work with patients to develop individualized treatment programs, using a variety of safe and proven methods, enabling them to better cope with chronic pain and minimize or eliminate their need for opioids. Veterans with opioid addiction are of particular interest to him. He will be here twice monthly (Fridays) to meet with patients. Mt. Grant General providers will be making patient referrals to Dr. Dahlgren this fall.

Mentioned last month is our planned partnership with Intermountain Healthcare out of Utah. The goal of our relationship is to keep more patients here at Mt. Grant rather than transferring to distant hospitals in Reno or Carson City. Intermountain will provide hospitalist clinical care and intensive critical care capabilities, utilizing remote staffing 24 hours a day (trained and experienced telehealth physicians, advanced practice clinicians, and nurses). Their staff will team with Mt. Grant staff for consultations and daily rounding (regular checks by attending physician of acute patients). Extensive staff training and coordination will occur over the next few months as this program is put into place. In the end, Mt. Grant General Hospital patients will have local access to state-of-the-art monitoring and diagnostic services and care. You deserve nothing less.

Thank you time. Our local Lions Club has generously offered to underwrite out of town trips for Lefa L. Seran SNF residents. Up next: we are off to the Eastern Sierra in early October to view autumn colors; aspen and cottonwood trees should be ablaze in yellow, orange and red by then. Too cool in the fall for dining al fresco (as we did in June) so we will lunch at Nicely’s that day. Our residents have talked about a return visit for months so now is the time before the first snowfall.

Fortunately, late September in Hawthorne is still warm enough for a leisurely lunch outside, as residents recently enjoyed at a local home. Several residents savored a tasty home-cooked meal in a beautiful patio garden setting, complete with koi ponds and streams. The fish were rewarded with lunch as well, hand fed by delighted residents. Cannot thank Jean Peterson enough for making her home available for such a memorable event. Finally, several SNF residents were treated to fireworks and pulledpork sandwiches last Saturday evening at Veterans Park. Thank you, Mineral County, for all you do to keep our seniors healthy and active.