ELKO — For the past 10 years, Dr. Charles Bernick of the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health out of Reno has been providing electronic care to patients with neurological needs.
Now that the system is advancing, a second Las Vegas-based doctor has joined the team to provide care to patients in rural areas and a clinic is being set up in Elko as a home base for telemedicine.
Dr. Dylan Wint from Las Vegas stopped in Elko on Monday to discuss the system and view the new office location at 380 Court St.
Through telecommunication lines, Wint and Bernick are able to listen to patients’ health concerns and treat them for different neurodegenerative disorders. With the new system, the doctors stationed in Reno and Las Vegas will not only be able to visit face to face with patients via a television screen, but listen to their heart beats, look in their ears and observe basic medical functions.
“People should be able to live where they want to live and not have to worry about being able to take care of a disease. You should be able to live in Elko and get top-notch care,” Wint said.
Wint said he has worked in places such as Washington, D.C., Miami and Atlanta and has not seen the level of care provided through the Center for Brain Health anywhere else. This level of care is available in Elko and all of rural northeastern Nevada. Wint has so far seen patients in Battle Mountain and Winnemucca.
“There is nothing like the Center for Brain Health anywhere else in the country and with the branches in Las Vegas, Reno, Elko and distributed around Elko, you’re really getting something that no one else really has,” Wint said.
The Cleveland Clinic focuses on diseases that typically strike the brain and progress over time. The doctors at the clinic deal primarily in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, but also see patients suffering from illnesses such as Huntington’s disease.
Wint said they will also be developing a multiple sclerosis program.
“It’s a recurrent illness. People get sick, they get better and they need two things — they need someone who can tell when they are getting sick and the second is special treatments they can get to reduce their sickness when they’re ill and prevent them from getting sick as frequently,” he said, adding that research, hopefully, will also be a part of the program.
Wint joined the staff at the Cleveland Clinic in May 2010. He received his undergraduate degree from Stanford University and his medical degree at the University of Miami.
He completed simultaneous residencies in neurology and psychiatry at the University of Florida.
Wint joined Emory University after completing a fellowship in functional neuroimaging at the National Institutes of Health. During his time at Emory, Wint developed the Program in Neurological Psychiatry. The program is a clinical, research and educational unit that focuses on the best treatment for behavioral disorders.
Wint said one of his interests has been looking at people who do not get specialty help, focusing particularly on dementia.
“But, we also do telehealth because that’s another big group of people who would never have access to me without this system. I like Dr. Bernick’s idea of trying to get help to people who couldn’t get it otherwise and the underserved population,” Wint said.
The new telemedicine technology will arrive at the Elko office on Friday.
“The technology is an advancement and we’re upgrading the system and making it more technologically better,” said Telemedicine Coordinator Chanda Sollinger, who will run the Elko office.
Sollinger is looking forward to being able to set up a home base for the office. Prior to moving onto Court Street, the telemedicine system was set up through the Area Health and Education Center’s system. Sollinger was handling patient phone calls and paperwork on the road.
“Having a local number and local fax and having someone here all the time is very important to the community because that’s what they need,” Sollinger said. “And we will see patients in the whole northeastern corner in the state. We can hook into stations in Wells, Battle Mountain, Winnemucca.”
She said the Area Health Education system is still important to the program because it allows the telemedicine systems to be hooked up all around northeastern Nevada. Therefore, patients in Winnemucca don’t have to drive to Elko for care.
“It’s very exciting to be all in one spot,” Sollinger said. “They don’t have to travel all over the place to find us and we will be a presence in the community.”
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