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Rochester doctor named 'Rural Health Hero'

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Dr. Rozalina McCoy

ST. PAUL, Minn. – A Rochester physician is being honored for her contribution to rural health care.

Dr. Rozalina McCoy, medical director of the Community Paramedic Program at Mayo Clinic Ambulance Service in Rochester will receive the 2022 Minnesota Rural Health Hero Award for her work establishing a Community Paramedicine Program that brought care out into the community and to residents in their homes, hotels, shelters and other living situations.

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) says Dr. McCoy “is a trained endocrinologist and primary care physician who delivers comprehensive, person-centered primary and diabetes care to communities in Southeast Minnesota. Recognizing the number of underserved patients living with unmet health needs across the region, she established a robust Community Paramedicine (CP) program with Mayo Clinic Ambulance and expanded the CP scope of service to bring health care to individuals in non-traditional settings.”

As COVID-19 hit, care included a Mobile COVID-19 Unit serving people experiencing homelessness quarantined in county-provided shelters,” says MDH.  “Today the Mayo Clinic Ambulance Community Paramedic Service brings care to residents in their homes, hotels, congregate living facilities, and homeless shelters – anywhere there is a safe, private setting convenient for the patient. This innovative model brings medical care out to the community, helps improve chronic disease management and reduces emergency department visits and hospitalizations. It has been a successful means of providing health equity to local residents not able to access mainstream healthcare.”

Besides Dr. McCoy, Wilderness Health in Two Harbors will receive the 2022 Minnesota Rural Health Team Award and Dr. Wesley O. Ofstedal, medical director of Living Center at Essentia Health-Fosston, is getting the 2022 Minnesota Rural Health Lifetime Achievement Award.

“The honorees embody the spirit of service and innovation that has helped Minnesota build a nationally respected rural health system,” says Minnesota Commissioner of Health Jan Malcolm.  “They exemplify the many ways rural providers rise to the occasion to deliver medical care where it is needed. Their work improves patient experiences, promotes health and strengthens their communities.”

All three will be honored as part of National Rural Health Day on November 17 and at the 2023 Minnesota Rural Health Conference in Duluth, June 12-13, 2023.

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