Doctor Gable: I've been in the Konnarock community for thirty-three years. For twenty-eight years I was the only physician in the community. Konnarock, Virginia is an unincorporated mountain village. Our postal address is a rural route of a town twelve miles away that has a population of 2,000. So that tells you how small Konnarock is.
It's a low income area. Anyone who tries to farm of course is self-employed and faces the same problem of all uninsured people nationwide. I felt interested in what I call outpost medicine where whatever presents itself you have to be prepared to take care of it.
Shelia Blemins Hensley, Patient: We are, you know, still pretty remote, a pretty remote community. Even with, you know, a good system for emergencies and everything my daughter having the disability that she has it's comforting, you know, to know that she is that close.
Doctor Gable: I treat a lot of families five generations that I'm actually taking care of the great grandmother, the grandmother, the mother, the daughter and the baby. That is such a privilege. It's such a privilege to feel so intimate with people's lives.
Ms. Hensley: I couldn't imagine her not being in my life, I really couldn't. I mean she's been such a part of my life. She's such a comfort to my whole family. Well it would take us in any direction a good forty/forty-five minutes to reach another doctor. I mean it would just be traumatic really. There would be no way that we could reach another facility I'm sure.
Doctor Gable: In 2004 we started our tele-medicine practice. We converted half of a storage room in the back of the building into our video conferencing room. It just opens the world up to me from-from my little remote place where I may not even go to the grocery store twice a month to be able to just be chatting with a doctor in Charlottesville.
Video Monitor: Okay, that cell's clear.
Doctor Gable: What a community primary care doctor does is figuring out how a person's new medical diagnosis fits in with the whole picture of their lives and the whole picture of their family, their community, their economics. That being a resource and doing this is quite, quite different from taking care of a patient in ICU or from seeing a patient with an interesting chest x-ray and trying to figure out what it is, and I love it.