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Community Health Centers Becoming Hubs for Rural ND Towns

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 By Dick Layman/Steve Powers, Public News Service - ND, Contact
May 21, 2008

Towner, ND – All across North Dakota are small communities without grocery stores, restaurants, drug stores or hospitals. Many of those services are miles away. As these towns continue to lose population and basic services, community health centers are stepping in to fill that void.

The newest community health center opened in Towner this month. Dawn Berg, CEO of Coal Country Community Health Centers, says Sandhills Community Health Center not only provides affordable health care, but allows people access to a pharmacy.

"They can have a face-to-face consultation over a television conferencing system, visit with their pharmacist and obtain their prescription drugs."

A transportation assistance program for Health Center patients also doubles as a way to get "Meals on Wheels" to local seniors.

"We are using that van to transport meals to these communities where the seniors do not have restaurants and grocery stores available."

Sandhills Community Health Center is in the process of developing a food bank program, too, Berg says. She expects area residents to have access to the new pantry by fall.



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