When you think of winter in North Dakota, you may think of cold, stormy days. Some may think of vacations and sunny beaches. Here at the Health Department, we think prevention and bringing service to you!

A way to bring family planning services to you is with the Telemedicine program. Telemedicine is a real-time interaction between a medical provider and a patient using secure video conferencing technology. Similar to your smartphone’s FaceTime or the Skype app on your computer, but secure and HIPAA compliant.

Telemedicine has been the buzz word for a few years now in the healthcare community, and it’s here at Richland County Family Planning Offices in Wahpeton, Lisbon and Forman, North Dakota. Richland County Family Planning first started the telemedicine program almost a year ago and patients love the flexibility and convenience that the program offers. Telemedicine is a way of removing barriers to care by bringing the provider to where the patient is.

When a patient comes to a Family Planning office interested in getting birth control, an appointment is scheduled with our provider. They meet face to face through our secure video to discuss concerns and needs. At the end of the visit, the patient is able to leave with the birth control method of choice. Patients are charged on a sliding-fee scale based on their income and household size. Many services are free or low-cost, and no one will be turned away for inability to pay. Family Planning provides a safe, confidential and non-judgmental service to everyone ages 14 – 50 desiring birth control and/or STD screenings in the tristate area.

To schedule an appointment or for more information, please call the Richland County Family Planning office at 642-7735.

Jean Smith, RN, Richland County Public Health

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