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Bismarck ENT seeing patients in Dickinson

Sanford Health patients in Dickinson now have access to an ENT, or ear, nose and throat physician, without having to drive to Bismarck. Dr. Kyle Johnson sees patients in Dickinson twice a month. "We started talking about coming to Dickinson about...

Dr. Kyle Johnson (submitted photo)
Dr. Kyle Johnson (submitted photo)

Sanford Health patients in Dickinson now have access to an ENT, or ear, nose and throat physician, without having to drive to Bismarck. Dr. Kyle Johnson sees patients in Dickinson twice a month.

"We started talking about coming to Dickinson about as soon as I started in Bismarck," Johnson said, "because I saw so many patients out there from the Dickinson area. ... It was pretty clear there was a need."

Johnson's team is in Dickinson the fourth Monday of every month for clinic visits and the second Monday of every month for operations. When they first started traveling to Dickinson, Johnson spent both days in the clinic. Soon, he hopes to have his physician's assistant see patients on the days he's in the operating room to make up for the lost time.

Johnson said it's been about six years since there was a full-time ENT in Dickinson. A lot of his patients were driving to Bismarck from Dickinson and even farther west.

One of these patients was Bonnie Kostelecky, who lives in Dickinson. Her first appointment with Johnson was in Bismarck - an hour and a half away.

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"Very often it's at least a half-day off work," Kostelecky said, "I'll schedule the very first appointment, which is a 7 a.m. appointment, their time, which is 6 our time, so I'm on the road by 5:30, our time. ... It makes for a long day."

Now, she sees Johnson in Dickinson.

"The fact that I don't have to travel, and you can go on your lunch hour ... it's so much more convenient," she said.

Most of the bigger ear surgeries will likely still take place in Bismarck, since they have more equipment there, Johnson said, but the initial appointments and follow-up appointments can take place in Dickinson. This will save patients a lot of drive time for appointments that are brief in nature.

"A lot of these things are such quick visits," Johnson said. "These post-op visits are so fast. I feel badly. ... It's a long run for a short slide, as they say."

Because these visits tend to be short, some patients may not have thought it worthwhile to make the journey. Some of his patients are elderly and require a family member to take them to their appointments. Some of them are children who would miss school, whose parents would miss work.

"There are definitely patients that I'm seeing that I may never have seen," Johnson said. "I think what we're doing is we're getting people to get care that might have waited or delayed care otherwise."

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