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Oconto Co. community shares the importance of rural healthcare

Oconto Co. community shares the importance of rural healthcare
Posted at 8:10 AM, Nov 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-11 09:10:41-05

OCONTO CO. (NBC 26) — Access healthcare services is critical to good health, but often times it can be a challenge for the thousands of Wisconites that live in rural communities.

For Wendy Vorpahl of Gillett, he lack of rural health care means she's often spending time on the road to gain access to critical care.

"I actually go to Shawano, I did in the past have to go to Green Bay for infusions I get for Crohn's Disease,” said Vorpahl.

Before getting her treatment in Shawano, she used to drive nearly an hour each way to go to Green Bay, but now her drive is 25 minutes.

"That saves on time as well, because infusions itself can take up to three hours sometimes,” Vorpahl said.

For others in rural areas, it’s a similar story.

But HSHS St. Clare Memorial Hospital in Oconto Falls is making things a little easier as they are doing what they can to bring in more care.

This year it was named as a 2022 Top 100 Critical Access Hospital in the U.S. by the Chartis center for Rural Health.

Oconto Co. community shares the importance of rural healthcare

"We provide all manner of services from emergency department of care, urgent care, acute care. We offer all manner of lab, imaging services, and many of the services you would find in a large urban setting,” said Chris Brabant, President and CEO of HSHS St. Clare Memorial Hospital.

Together with Prevea, they also partner to offer clinics across five different rural communities. Something that those in the area appreciate.

“A lot easier to go to the clinic. Prevea is down the street from me. I don't like driving in Green Bay,” said Dorris, an Oconto resident.

“I like having the doctor here locally whenever possible,” said Danna Danoski, an Oconto Falls resident.

Click here to learn more about those rural clinics.

Meet Valerie Juarez: NBC 26's reporter in the Northwoods!

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