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Telemedicine arrives at Highland

ELKO – Imagine coming down with pneumonia and being treated by a doctor who is more than a hundred miles away but can hear your heartbeat, see down your throat, and inspect an unusual skin rash noticed during the examination.

Thanks to advancements in telemedicine, the scenario isn’t science-fiction but the introduction of the CuraviCart now used at Highland Manor.

Presented by Dr. Steven Phillips of Geriatric Specialty Care of Reno, the CuraviCart is a mobile diagnosis station that can be rolled into a patient’s room for examination by an off-site doctor or physician’s assistant if the patient shows signs of discomfort or symptoms of a treatable condition.

The console operates CuraviCare, a proprietary video platform software, using a stationary camera, screen, microphone, portable camera and otoscope camera for viewing ears, nose and throat. A Bluetooth-connected stethoscope allows the doctor to hear heart, lung and abdominal sounds.

If needed, an electrocardiogram attached to the unit will send heart rates and rhythms to the doctor for further analysis.

Newer patients can have their medical history e-faxed to the doctor by a portable fax machine attached to the console, Phillips said, adding that the system is HIPPA compliant.

The examination is in real-time and the video is not archived, Phillips said.

Within a nursing facility, “conditions are identified by a CNA who escalates it to the RN or LPN,” Phillips said. “It operates at the top of your scope of procedure.”

The accuracy level is the same through telemedicine as it is with a live doctor and diagnosis can be made quicker, Phillips said.

Nurses in the skilled nursing and memory care units received training this week on the system.

Called a Situation Background Assessment Recommendation tool, the technology was initially developed for nuclear submarines 20 years ago, Phillips explained.

“The Department of Defense spent $5 million for the subs to have standardized reports, but some people in home health said it would work in health care,” Phillips said.

Mostly, the console will be used on off-hours, evenings and weekends, replacing telephone calls to doctors and practitioners.

Four doctors, including Highland staff Dr. Felix De Guzman and Physician’s Assistant Katie Steele will be on the other side of the screen.

Starting soon, CuraviCart will be used in the skilled nursing and memory care facilities at Highland Manor, with plans to add another one for Highland’s assisted living residents, said Mickey Hale, director of marketing and sales at Highland Village.

Another benefit in using telemedicine will mean patients can be treated in their rooms, possibly avoiding an ambulance transport and saving the patient money, said Administrator Drew Banford.

“Medicare allowable is $986,” Banford said.

“About 80 percent of transfers are for pneumonia, congestive heart failure, COPD/asthma, skin infections, dehydration or urinary tract infections,” Phillips said.

One of the main benefits is that the doctor can still go to the patient.

“It’s an office without walls,” Phillips said.

The article corrected the name of Dr. Steven Phillips’ organization.

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Hazard Mitigation Plan to be presented to county commission

ELKO — The City of Elko and Elko County Emergency Management are to present an update to their Hazard Mitigation Plan at the County Commission meeting Wednesday at 1:30 p.m.

“This plan was started in 2013, but we’re required to update it every two years,” said Elko County Fire District Administrator Linda Bingaman.

The Hazard Mitigation Plan is a report for the City of Elko, Elko County, and other cities surrounding Elko, such as Carlin, Wells, and West Wendover, to assess risks posed by natural disasters and identify the ways to reduce those risks. This is required under the Federal Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000.

The Hazard Mitigation plan updates are expected to be adopted in spring 2018, according to the press release.

Residents are invited to participate in a questionnaire on their concerns regarding hazardous events, such as the flood in February and wildfires this summer. The online version of the questionnaire is posted at Responses also may be returned to Elko County Emergency Management at 775 West Silver St. or emailed to

“We are just looking for the opinions of people about the highest risks in the county,” Bingaman said. “It’s all a part of the process.”

Resident are also welcome to voice their concerns at the county commission presentation.

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Two killed in collision at Marigold

Two employees of SSR Mining Inc. were killed Tuesday afternoon in a collision at Marigold Mine.

“The incident involved contact between a haul truck and a light vehicle within the open pit operations at the mine,” SSR reported in a statement released Tuesday night. “We immediately activated our emergency plan, mobilized our emergency response team and notified the relevant authorities. We regret to confirm two employees have been fatally injured.”

Operations at the mine remain suspended.

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of our colleagues and our heartfelt sympathy goes out to their families,” said Paul Benson, president and CEO. “This incident is particularly upsetting as the health and safety of our employees is our highest priority. We are fully cooperating with the ongoing investigation to determine the cause of the accident and are offering support to our colleagues’ families and our employees at the mine site.”

Marigold Mine in Valmy reported the accident at about 2:15 p.m., according to Humboldt County Sheriff Mike Allen. He said an unspecified number of people were injured.

The accident will be investigated by the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration.

SSR Mining, a Vancouver-based company, changed its name from Silver Standard Resources in August.

The last Nevada mining fatality happened last year in Nye County when a 60-year-old mechanic working on a front-end loader at Premier Magnesia Mine near Gabbs fell as he was getting off the machine, according to MSHA.

Still, MSHA reported that 2016 was the safest year ever for American miners. There were 22 deaths total, with 17 of those occurring in metal and nonmetal mines, and the remainder in coal mines.

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Wendover casinos post increase in September

ELKO – Nevada casinos reported a 3.33 percent increase in revenue for September, but the results in Elko County were a mixed bag.

West Wendover casinos rolled to a 10.8 percent increase with revenue of $17.1 million. Casinos in the remainder of the county, however, dropped 5.6 percent with revenues of $7.5 million.

Statewide, nonrestricted gaming licensees reported a total gaming win of $979.8 million for the month, according to the Nevada Gaming Control Board.

The biggest percentage gain was at North Lake Tahoe at 16.5 percent. The biggest percentage decrease was North Las Vegas at 8.2 percent.

Data released Tuesday also show casinos won $44.4 million from the total wagered in sports, the fifth-highest sports pool win ever. The lucrative month for sports books, which beat the record set in November 2015, was driven by football betting.

“It was a strong month as far as betting activity,” Michael Lawton, senior research analyst for the board, said. “Football was extremely strong. It was also a good betting month in baseball.”

For the fiscal year that began in July the gaming win has increased just over 5 percent.