Rural areas in North Dakota struggle to find health care providers

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VALLEY CITY, N.D. (Valley News Live) -- People in Valley City are scrambling to get some health care help, and they're not alone. Right now, there's a shortage of doctors in many rural areas. There's a health care professional in Valley City Wednesday who is helping patients get the help they need.

Betty Olson normally spends her days at the City-County Health District and Home Care in Valley City.

She's also a patient at Family HealthCare.

"She steps in and understands," said Olson. "She's really impressed me when I've seen her."

Olson is referring to Brittany Michels, a physician assistant out of Fargo.

Michels comes to Valley City on Wednesdays to help out.

"As a organization we wanted to expand into different areas of North Dakota, and this was a place where they felt there was a need and that there was a large amount of patients that were uninsured or under insured that we could help," said Michels.

She takes appointments, walk-ins, you name it.

The problem here in smaller cities is many people can't see their primary care doctor when they need to.

"There's a healthcare shortage pretty much everywhere," said Michels. "It a little bit more difficult in rural areas to kind of get that need met."

Olson wants other health care providers in bigger cities like Fargo to try and come to her city.

"I'd invite them to come," said Olson. "The rural people around this area are great people, and I think the more medical services we can get out in the community and the rural areas would be really well used."

The health care center said there trying a new system where providers like this one will be able to talk to patients over the phone instead of seeing them in person.

To learn more visit their website at https://www.famhealthcare.org/