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INDEPENDENT LENS: The Providers

Airs Monday, April 8, 2019 at 11 p.m. on KPBS TV + Thursday, April 11 at Noon on KPBS 2

Nurse Practitioner Chris Ruge en route to visit a patient.

Credit: Courtesy of Anna Moot-Levin

Above: Nurse Practitioner Chris Ruge en route to visit a patient.

Follow Three "Country Doctors" In Rural New Mexico

Set against the backdrop of the physician shortage, and opioid epidemic in rural America, “The Providers” follows three healthcare professionals in northern New Mexico at El Centro, a group of safety-net clinics that offer care to anyone who walks through the doors.

Amidst personal struggles that reflect those of their patients, the journeys of the providers unfold as they work to reach those who would otherwise be left out of the healthcare system.

With intimate access, the film shows the transformative power of providers’ relationships with marginalized patients.

Directed by Laura Green and Anna Moot-Levin, both the children of doctors, “The Providers” will premiere on INDEPENDENT LENS Monday, April 8, 2019.

Trailer | The Providers

Does your zip code determine your life? Those in rural America sometimes lack access to the most basic health care. The Providers gives a very human face to the physician shortage and opioid epidemic in rural areas, following three healthcare professionals in northern New Mexico who offer care to anyone walking through their doors, regardless of ability to pay.

Over the course of the film, the three providers — family physician Leslie Hayes, nurse practitioner Chris Ruge, and El Centro Medical Director Matt Probst — remain unfailingly compassionate despite a range of challenges from the system to their patients, and sometimes even their own families.

Leslie believes it is critical for primary care doctors to treat patients who use opioids as part of their regular practice.

The Providers - Pregnant Moms Want to Be Drug-Free

In this excerpt from the film "The Providers," Dr. Leslie Hayes, a health care provider in rural New Mexico, sees a patient far along in her pregnancy and struggling with opioid use disorder. Like a lot of women in her situation, she's desperate and motivated to be drug-free but overwhelmed. A parent herself, Dr. Hayes sees as role models women patients who have overcome the odds with few resources.

When other physicians don’t want “those people” in their medical center, she says, “they’re already in your waiting room — you’re just not identifying and treating them.”

Medical director and physician assistant Matt is coping with a physician shortage and has begun training P.A.’s to be the new front line of medical care.

His own background includes two family members who have struggled with addiction, his father and sister.

The Providers - Trying to Fill the Health Care Gap

In this excerpt from the film "The Providers," rural New Mexico health care provider Matt Probst updates his colleagues on the dire staffing situation their clinic is in. Then, with an eye to the future, Matt works with local teens interested in the health care field who could someday fill the gap.

Nurse practitioner Chris is part of a special program that allows him to visit the homes of the most marginalized patients, and believes his relationship with them is making a difference.

“The job offers me the opportunity to actually be walking alongside patients and helping them find the door,” he says. “Some people you need to open the door just once. Other people it’s months and years. If you open enough doors they will walk through that door with you.”

Photo credit: Courtesy of Adria Malcolm

Nurse Practitioner Chris Ruge during a home visit with a patient in Las Vegas, N.M.

Watch On Your Schedule:

This film is currently available to stream on demand with KPBS Passport.

This episode will be available for streaming on demand for a limited time after broadcast. Extend your viewing window with KPBS Passport, video streaming for members ($60 yearly) using your computer, smartphone, tablet, Roku, AppleTV, Amazon Fire or Chromecast. Learn how to activate your benefit now.

Join The Conversation:

INDEPENDENT LENS is on Facebook, Instagram, and you can follow @IndependentLens on Twitter. #IndieLensPBS

Credits:

Directed, Produced and Cinematography by Laura Green and Anna Moot-Levin. Executive Producer and Creative Advisor: Jamie Meltzer. Executive Producers: Sally Jo Fifer and Lois Vossen. Original music by Paul Brill. Edited by Chris Brown, Laura Green and Anna Moot-Levin. Consulting Editor: Ben Sozanski. Story Consultant: Lisa Fruchtman.

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