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Rural Hospitals Honored on Rural Health Day

VINTON (CBS 2/ FOX 28)-- Coming in for a routine checkup Paula Happel feels more like a family member instead of a patient at Virginia Gay hospital. 
People know you, said Happel. You get that hometown feel.
Shes lives on a farm just five miles outside of Vintona small town where access to health care can be hard to come by.
Were lucky to have a full service hospital here thats for sure.
Even though its smaller and less-staffed than hospitals in the bigger cities, Virginia Gay is still getting the job done.
I-vantage Health just awarded the hospital for excellence in efficiency among small and rural hospitals.
Were on a mission to take care of the community and the surrounding area, said Dr. Brian Meeker, a family physician.
A mission Meeker says can sometimes be overwhelming.
We have a very high population to medical provider ratio, Meeker said. That makes us busier than average.
The hospital averages about 90,000 patient visits per yeara lot to handle with a staff of three doctors, a surgeon and 10 physician assistants.
Even so the hospitalwhich is self-fundedsays theyve been able to keep up with changing technology.
Now we do MRI and digital mammography, Meeker said.
Just perks that patients like Paula say come second to what she says is most importantpersonal care.
Its the sense of belonging in the community, she said.

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