Expanded Health Care in Rural Communities - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Expanded Health Care in Rural Communities

Amanda Griffin, Pediatric Resident Amanda Griffin, Pediatric Resident
Dr. Curtis Turner, Program Director for Pediatric Residency Dr. Curtis Turner, Program Director for Pediatric Residency

Maxine Ridling
NewsChannel 10

Amarillo, TX - Sick children in rural communities throughout our area will no longer have to travel hundreds of miles for treatment.

When many children are sick in Eastern New Mexico or the Oklahoma Panhandle they have to travel all the way to the Texas Tech Health Sciences Center, but that will soon change.

Thanks to a recent grant, children who live in rural communities will no longer have to travel to see a doctor.

"This grant allows additional pediatric resident to train in a community based program and they get experience in rural medicine," Program Director for Pediatric Residency, Dr. Curtis Turner said.

The Health Sciences Center serves thousands of people all across our area and how much time it takes for patients to get there is starting to become a problem, especially for children.

"They have to travel to counties with pediatricians," Dr. Turner said, "To Amarillo for some speciality care or sometimes to either Dallas or Houston."

Out of the 26 counties in the Tri-State region there are only 6 pediatricians.

"It is a burden for the patients any time you have to travel whether you're well or your sick it makes it more difficult to get to the hospital," Amanda Griffin, Pediatric Resident says, "Focusing on rural care really is a benefit to the patient."

Griffin is 1 of the 5 pediatric residents at the Health Sciences Center. Griffin says the additional doctor will help more than just sick children in rural communities.

"It will allow us to take better care of the patients and we'll be able to see more patients," Griffin says, "With that sixth person which provide care to children who otherwise will not get that care."

The pediatrician who is going to different communities won't start July 2011.

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