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CEO: Primary Care Provider

August 23, 2023

Scott Thoreson, CCMH Chief Executive Officer

By Scott Thoreson, Carroll County Memorial Hospital Chief Executive Officer

There are many things we as humans should do to live long, healthy and meaningful lives. One of those things is to have a relationship with a primary care provider. For most people this will mean finding a family medicine physician, a nurse practitioner, or perhaps a physician assistant who specializes in primary care.

Within the last month, we have been fortunate to add Dr. Amy North and Marc Morgan, nurse practitioner, to the ranks of primary care providers at Carroll County Memorial Hospital (CCMH). We have been searching for a primary care physician since Dr. Ross retired in 2021. In rural America, it is indeed difficult to recruit this type of provider. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, it is anticipated that there will be a shortage of up to 124,000 physicians by 2034. The government has various ways of identifying areas where there is a shortage of health care providers, and one way is being designated as a Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA). In Carroll County, we are considered a HPSA. There is a scoring system associated with HPSAs and higher scores indicate a higher need for health care professionals.

It is not uncommon for patients to wait many weeks or possibly months to have a certain kind of appointment with a primary care provider or specialist. While it is more likely to have a longer wait for a specialist, patients are often able to be seen quicker here at CCMH for a specialist than making an appointment in Columbia or Kansas City.

At CCMH, we have five physicians and four nurse practitioners who specialize in family medicine and provide services in our Jefferson Medical Group Clinic in Carrollton, as well as our clinics in Hale and Brunswick. We have taken a more aggressive posture in being recognized at a high level for providing primary care services by meeting the criteria for being a Rural Health Clinic as well as a Patient Centered Medical Home. Both of these designations require additional criteria to attain and maintain with periodic reviews to assure that CCMH is continuing to meet the specific requirements set forth by these accrediting bodies.

There are four really good reasons to have a primary care provider. First, they know you better than any other health care provider and, as such, can help you develop health goals, initiate and maintain healthy lifestyle habits, understand your medical history and your family health history. They also know what kind of medications that you are on, as well as understand your personality and preferences. Second, they can take care of you throughout your entire life. This will help you stay up to date with routine health screenings. Third, they can help you to prevent disease and help catch health issues at an early stage before they become something more serious. Lastly, they can help keep you out of the hospital, which is one place that people really don’t want to be.

I hope this article has provided a bit more of an insight about the importance of having and maintaining a steady relationship with a primary care provider. Additionally, I also hope this article has highlighted the overall shortage of primary care providers in our country and, even though we in Carroll County are identified to be in a shortage area, we are fortunate to have the high quality providers that we do have, including our recent hires. Feel free to visit our website at to see our provider listing. If you have a question you would like addressed in this column, please send it to I wish you good health!

More in this Series:

CEO: Supply Shortages (Published June 28, 2023)

CEO: CCMH Named Top 20 Critical Access Hospital (Published June 14, 2023)

CEO: Hospital Week 2023 (Published May 3, 2023)

CEO: Prior Authorizations (Published April 5, 2023)

CEO: Staff Shortage and Open Positions (Published February 8, 2023)

CEO: End of Year 2022 (Published December 14, 2022)

CEO: Purpose of the Foundation (Published November 10, 2022)

CEO: Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (Published September 28, 2022)

CEO: CCMH Providers (Published August 24, 2022)

CEO: Financial Assistance (Published July 20, 2022)

CEO: Social Determinants of Health (Published June 29, 2022)

CEO: National Hospital Week (Published May 11, 2022)

CEO: Why Healthcare is Expensive (Published May 4, 2022)

CEO: A Hospital is Still a Business (Published March 16, 2022)

CEO: Different Types of Hospital Ownership (Published February 1, 2022)

CEO: Holiday Message (Published December 20, 2021)