Thursday is Rural Health Day. In South Dakota critical access hospitals meet the needs of residents who would otherwise be a long distance away from medical care.
It’s a busy day at Marshall County Healthcare Center in Britton. A group of high school students is here learning about opportunities in the medical field. CEO Nick Fosness says it’s important to start recruiting early.
“I’m proud to say that we’re in a hospital where we have returned a number of our locals to jobs here,” Fosness says. “They would admit it was a seed that was planted with them in high school when they were here touring. It sparked interest with them, and to this day they work here. So our workforce is strong here in Britton.”
Not every critical access hospital can say that. South Dakota Office of Rural Health Administrator Halley Lee says recruiting workers is one of the main challenges rural hospitals face. An aging population is straining the healthcare system as well.
In Britton, the 20 bed hospital also has a clinic and assisted living center. It’s an hour away from the nearest healthcare facility. But thanks to technology, it’s 30 seconds away from Avera McKennan Hospital in Sioux Falls.
The emergency room is wired with mics and cameras so that medical professionals in Sioux Falls can assist with needs in Britton. The clinic and cardiac room are set up for monitoring as well.
Fosness says the center sees about one thousand emergency room visits a year.
“Here we have I think a great facility that is up to date with technology,” Fosness says. “We can treat patients, and we do every year, that otherwise would not be alive today if it wasn’t for the services we provide.”
Fosness says he’s proud of his local hospital and the services the employees provide.