Highest and lowest paying health care jobs in Fort Smith

Written by:
August 10, 2022
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Highest and lowest paying health care jobs in Fort Smith

Anybody who has taken a course in marketing, psychology or sociology is likely familiar with Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. First detailed by psychologist Andrew Maslow in his 1943 work “A Theory of Human Motivation,” the hierarchy breaks down the complex network of human thoughts into a categorical triage, placing self-development at the top and security and physical health at the bottom. In setting up this pyramid, Maslow framed self-recognition and creative development as ultimate goals, while also prioritizing personal safety and strong physical health.

As such, it has never been more important to recognize the health care professionals who work tirelessly to keep the population healthy. In 2020, the United States spent 19.7% of its GDP on health. While it’s encouraging to know that the country is investing in those responsible for maintaining the nation’s well-being, not all health care professionals receive equal compensation.

Stacker compiled a list of the highest and lowest paying health care jobs in Fort Smith using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Jobs are ranked by 2020 annual mean wage. Job descriptions are from O*NET. Keep reading to see which health care jobs make the most and least in your city.

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#29. Pharmacy aides

Fort Smith, AR-OK
- Annual mean salary: $23,020
- #135 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: data not available

National
- Annual mean salary: $32,250
- Employment: 38,900
- Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Vallejo-Fairfield, CA ($55,930)
--- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($48,360)
--- Fresno, CA ($45,210)
- Job description: Record drugs delivered to the pharmacy, store incoming merchandise, and inform the supervisor of stock needs. May operate cash register and accept prescriptions for filling.
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GagliardiPhotography // Shutterstock

#28. Nursing assistants

Fort Smith, AR-OK
- Annual mean salary: $25,820
- #349 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 1,750

National
- Annual mean salary: $32,050
- Employment: 1,371,050
- Entry level education requirements: Postsecondary nondegree award
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($48,420)
--- Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA ($43,960)
--- Vallejo-Fairfield, CA ($42,200)
- Job description: Provide or assist with basic care or support under the direction of onsite licensed nursing staff. Perform duties such as monitoring of health status, feeding, bathing, dressing, grooming, toileting, or ambulation of patients in a health or nursing facility. May include medication administration and other health-related tasks. Includes nursing care attendants, nursing aides, and nursing attendants.
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Dragana Gordic // Shutterstock

#27. Pharmacy technicians

Fort Smith, AR-OK
- Annual mean salary: $28,610
- #383 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 300

National
- Annual mean salary: $36,450
- Employment: 415,310
- Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($56,620)
--- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($56,020)
--- Santa Rosa, CA ($52,810)
- Job description: Prepare medications under the direction of a pharmacist. May measure, mix, count out, label, and record amounts and dosages of medications according to prescription orders.
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#26. Veterinary assistants and laboratory animal caretakers

Fort Smith, AR-OK
- Annual mean salary: $29,140
- #131 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 110

National
- Annual mean salary: $30,980
- Employment: 98,810
- Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($45,950)
--- New Haven, CT ($45,360)
--- Boston-Cambridge-Nashua, MA-NH ($41,210)
- Job description: Feed, water, and examine pets and other nonfarm animals for signs of illness, disease, or injury in laboratories and animal hospitals and clinics. Clean and disinfect cages and work areas, and sterilize laboratory and surgical equipment. May provide routine postoperative care, administer medication orally or topically, or prepare samples for laboratory examination under the supervision of veterinary or laboratory animal technologists or technicians, veterinarians, or scientists.
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Milkovasa // Shutterstock

#25. Medical assistants

Fort Smith, AR-OK
- Annual mean salary: $30,160
- #352 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 210

National
- Annual mean salary: $36,930
- Employment: 710,200
- Entry level education requirements: Postsecondary nondegree award
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($53,960)
--- Vallejo-Fairfield, CA ($53,660)
--- Santa Rosa, CA ($52,520)
- Job description: Perform administrative and certain clinical duties under the direction of a physician. Administrative duties may include scheduling appointments, maintaining medical records, billing, and coding information for insurance purposes. Clinical duties may include taking and recording vital signs and medical histories, preparing patients for examination, drawing blood, and administering medications as directed by physician.

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#24. Ophthalmic medical technicians

Fort Smith, AR-OK
- Annual mean salary: $32,660
- #195 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: data not available

National
- Annual mean salary: $40,010
- Employment: 59,960
- Entry level education requirements: Postsecondary nondegree award
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($67,300)
--- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($57,190)
--- Duluth, MN-WI ($56,200)
- Job description: Assist ophthalmologists by performing ophthalmic clinical functions. May administer eye exams, administer eye medications, and instruct the patient in care and use of corrective lenses.
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Maria Sbytova // Shutterstock

#23. Veterinary technologists and technicians

Fort Smith, AR-OK
- Annual mean salary: $33,170
- #212 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 40

National
- Annual mean salary: $37,860
- Employment: 109,490
- Entry level education requirements: Associate’s degree
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Harrisburg-Carlisle, PA ($56,020)
--- Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA ($53,580)
--- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($53,440)
- Job description: Perform medical tests in a laboratory environment for use in the treatment and diagnosis of diseases in animals. Prepare vaccines and serums for prevention of diseases. Prepare tissue samples, take blood samples, and execute laboratory tests, such as urinalysis and blood counts. Clean and sterilize instruments and materials and maintain equipment and machines. May assist a veterinarian during surgery.
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Syda Productions // Shutterstock

#22. Medical transcriptionists

Fort Smith, AR-OK
- Annual mean salary: $34,810
- #127 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: data not available

National
- Annual mean salary: $37,310
- Employment: 49,530
- Entry level education requirements: Postsecondary nondegree award
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Hagerstown-Martinsburg, MD-WV ($58,050)
--- Bend-Redmond, OR ($56,450)
--- Lakeland-Winter Haven, FL ($55,720)
- Job description: Transcribe medical reports recorded by physicians and other healthcare practitioners using various electronic devices, covering office visits, emergency room visits, diagnostic imaging studies, operations, chart reviews, and final summaries. Transcribe dictated reports and translate abbreviations into fully understandable form. Edit as necessary and return reports in either printed or electronic form for review and signature, or correction.
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Syda Productions // Shutterstock

#21. Dental assistants

Fort Smith, AR-OK
- Annual mean salary: $35,090
- #347 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 270

National
- Annual mean salary: $42,310
- Employment: 312,140
- Entry level education requirements: Postsecondary nondegree award
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Santa Rosa, CA ($58,570)
--- Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI ($56,240)
--- Vallejo-Fairfield, CA ($54,550)
- Job description: Perform limited clinical duties under the direction of a dentist. Clinical duties may include equipment preparation and sterilization, preparing patients for treatment, assisting the dentist during treatment, and providing patients with instructions for oral healthcare procedures. May perform administrative duties such as scheduling appointments, maintaining medical records, billing, and coding information for insurance purposes.
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Rido // Shutterstock

#20. Opticians, dispensing

Fort Smith, AR-OK
- Annual mean salary: $37,570
- #150 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 80

National
- Annual mean salary: $41,380
- Employment: 68,180
- Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Utica-Rome, NY ($71,220)
--- Danbury, CT ($68,590)
--- Norwich-New London-Westerly, CT-RI ($66,900)
- Job description: Design, measure, fit, and adapt lenses and frames for client according to written optical prescription or specification. Assist client with inserting, removing, and caring for contact lenses. Assist client with selecting frames. Measure customer for size of eyeglasses and coordinate frames with facial and eye measurements and optical prescription. Prepare work order for optical laboratory containing instructions for grinding and mounting lenses in frames. Verify exactness of finished lens spectacles. Adjust frame and lens position to fit client. May shape or reshape frames. Includes contact lens opticians.

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Gerain0812 // Shutterstock

#19. Surgical technologists

Fort Smith, AR-OK
- Annual mean salary: $38,410
- #254 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 110

National
- Annual mean salary: $51,510
- Employment: 107,400
- Entry level education requirements: Postsecondary nondegree award
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($79,230)
--- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($74,080)
--- Vallejo-Fairfield, CA ($73,460)
- Job description: Assist in operations, under the supervision of surgeons, registered nurses, or other surgical personnel. May help set up operating room, prepare and transport patients for surgery, adjust lights and equipment, pass instruments and other supplies to surgeons and surgeons' assistants, hold retractors, cut sutures, and help count sponges, needles, supplies, and instruments.
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Jacob Lund // Shutterstock

#18. Licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses

Fort Smith, AR-OK
- Annual mean salary: $41,540
- #336 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 1,050

National
- Annual mean salary: $50,090
- Employment: 676,440
- Entry level education requirements: Postsecondary nondegree award
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($75,950)
--- Santa Rosa, CA ($74,820)
--- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($74,520)
- Job description: Care for ill, injured, or convalescing patients or persons with disabilities in hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, private homes, group homes, and similar institutions. May work under the supervision of a registered nurse. Licensing required.
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lenetstan // Shutterstock

#17. Radiologic technologists and technicians

Fort Smith, AR-OK
- Annual mean salary: $47,970
- #321 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 170

National
- Annual mean salary: $64,840
- Employment: 206,720
- Entry level education requirements: Associate’s degree
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Vallejo-Fairfield, CA ($120,270)
--- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($116,250)
--- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($114,850)
- Job description: Take x-rays and CAT scans or administer nonradioactive materials into patient's bloodstream for diagnostic or research purposes. Includes radiologic technologists and technicians who specialize in other scanning modalities.
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Dmytro Zinkevych // Shutterstock

#16. Respiratory therapists

Fort Smith, AR-OK
- Annual mean salary: $54,020
- #226 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 120

National
- Annual mean salary: $65,640
- Employment: 131,890
- Entry level education requirements: Associate’s degree
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($104,200)
--- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($100,710)
--- Vallejo-Fairfield, CA ($100,080)
- Job description: Assess, treat, and care for patients with breathing disorders. Assume primary responsibility for all respiratory care modalities, including the supervision of respiratory therapy technicians. Initiate and conduct therapeutic procedures; maintain patient records; and select, assemble, check, and operate equipment.
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#15. Dietitians and nutritionists

Fort Smith, AR-OK
- Annual mean salary: $59,110
- #173 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 30

National
- Annual mean salary: $64,150
- Employment: 66,330
- Entry level education requirements: Bachelor’s degree
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Santa Rosa, CA ($95,140)
--- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($95,060)
--- Vallejo-Fairfield, CA ($93,640)
- Job description: Plan and conduct food service or nutritional programs to assist in the promotion of health and control of disease. May supervise activities of a department providing quantity food services, counsel individuals, or conduct nutritional research.

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Rawpixel.com // Shutterstock

#14. Registered nurses

Fort Smith, AR-OK
- Annual mean salary: $59,220
- #357 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 2,180

National
- Annual mean salary: $80,010
- Employment: 2,986,500
- Entry level education requirements: Bachelor’s degree
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($149,200)
--- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($146,870)
--- Vallejo-Fairfield, CA ($142,140)
- Job description: Assess patient health problems and needs, develop and implement nursing care plans, and maintain medical records. Administer nursing care to ill, injured, convalescent, or disabled patients. May advise patients on health maintenance and disease prevention or provide case management. Licensing or registration required.
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#13. Physical therapist assistants

Fort Smith, AR-OK
- Annual mean salary: $61,110
- #114 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 160

National
- Annual mean salary: $59,440
- Employment: 92,740
- Entry level education requirements: Associate’s degree
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX ($81,510)
--- Sacramento--Roseville--Arden-Arcade, CA ($78,370)
--- Visalia-Porterville, CA ($78,240)
- Job description: Assist physical therapists in providing physical therapy treatments and procedures. May, in accordance with state laws, assist in the development of treatment plans, carry out routine functions, document the progress of treatment, and modify specific treatments in accordance with patient status and within the scope of treatment plans established by a physical therapist. Generally requires formal training.
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Kzenon // Shutterstock

#12. Optometrists

Fort Smith, AR-OK
- Annual mean salary: $65,900
- #152 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 50

National
- Annual mean salary: $125,440
- Employment: 36,690
- Entry level education requirements: Doctoral or professional degree
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Columbia, SC ($228,340)
--- New Haven, CT ($186,950)
--- Evansville, IN-KY ($182,980)
- Job description: Diagnose, manage, and treat conditions and diseases of the human eye and visual system. Examine eyes and visual system, diagnose problems or impairments, prescribe corrective lenses, and provide treatment. May prescribe therapeutic drugs to treat specific eye conditions.
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#11. Speech-language pathologists

Fort Smith, AR-OK
- Annual mean salary: $66,260
- #309 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 130

National
- Annual mean salary: $83,240
- Employment: 148,450
- Entry level education requirements: Master’s degree
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Modesto, CA ($128,540)
--- Santa Rosa, CA ($120,920)
--- Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA ($115,480)
- Job description: Assess and treat persons with speech, language, voice, and fluency disorders. May select alternative communication systems and teach their use. May perform research related to speech and language problems.
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#10. Occupational therapy assistants

Fort Smith, AR-OK
- Annual mean salary: $70,200
- #33 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 40

National
- Annual mean salary: $63,420
- Employment: 42,750
- Entry level education requirements: Associate’s degree
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Sacramento--Roseville--Arden-Arcade, CA ($89,380)
--- McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, TX ($86,850)
--- Visalia-Porterville, CA ($84,370)
- Job description: Assist occupational therapists in providing occupational therapy treatments and procedures. May, in accordance with state laws, assist in development of treatment plans, carry out routine functions, direct activity programs, and document the progress of treatments. Generally requires formal training.

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#9. Dental hygienists

Fort Smith, AR-OK
- Annual mean salary: $75,160
- #147 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 140

National
- Annual mean salary: $78,050
- Employment: 194,830
- Entry level education requirements: Associate’s degree
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA ($133,730)
--- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($120,340)
--- Santa Rosa, CA ($118,980)
- Job description: Administer oral hygiene care to patients. Assess patient oral hygiene problems or needs and maintain health records. Advise patients on oral health maintenance and disease prevention. May provide advanced care such as providing fluoride treatment or administering topical anesthesia.
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ABO PHOTOGRAPHY // Shutterstock

#8. Occupational therapists

Fort Smith, AR-OK
- Annual mean salary: $81,870
- #199 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 100

National
- Annual mean salary: $87,480
- Employment: 126,610
- Entry level education requirements: Master’s degree
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- The Villages, FL ($115,920)
--- Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV ($115,060)
--- Modesto, CA ($112,870)
- Job description: Assess, plan, and organize rehabilitative programs that help build or restore vocational, homemaking, and daily living skills, as well as general independence, to persons with disabilities or developmental delays. Use therapeutic techniques, adapt the individual's environment, teach skills, and modify specific tasks that present barriers to the individual.
23 / 29
Austin Community College // Flickr

#7. Veterinarians

Fort Smith, AR-OK
- Annual mean salary: $95,750
- #177 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 60

National
- Annual mean salary: $108,350
- Employment: 73,710
- Entry level education requirements: Doctoral or professional degree
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX ($169,220)
--- Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT ($150,370)
--- Akron, OH ($150,330)
- Job description: Diagnose, treat, or research diseases and injuries of animals. Includes veterinarians who conduct research and development, inspect livestock, or care for pets and companion animals.
24 / 29
Aykut Erdogdu // Shutterstock

#6. Physical therapists

Fort Smith, AR-OK
- Annual mean salary: $97,070
- #65 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 180

National
- Annual mean salary: $91,680
- Employment: 220,870
- Entry level education requirements: Doctoral or professional degree
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- El Centro, CA ($143,500)
--- Modesto, CA ($123,370)
--- Visalia-Porterville, CA ($119,510)
- Job description: Assess, plan, organize, and participate in rehabilitative programs that improve mobility, relieve pain, increase strength, and improve or correct disabling conditions resulting from disease or injury.
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Monkey Business Images // Shutterstock

#5. Nurse practitioners

Fort Smith, AR-OK
- Annual mean salary: $112,470
- #147 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: data not available

National
- Annual mean salary: $114,510
- Employment: 211,280
- Entry level education requirements: Master’s degree
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Vallejo-Fairfield, CA ($188,070)
--- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($177,800)
--- Salinas, CA ($155,310)
- Job description: Diagnose and treat acute, episodic, or chronic illness, independently or as part of a healthcare team. May focus on health promotion and disease prevention. May order, perform, or interpret diagnostic tests such as lab work and x rays. May prescribe medication. Must be registered nurses who have specialized graduate education.

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Ohiodominican // Wikimedia Commons

#4. Physician assistants

Fort Smith, AR-OK
- Annual mean salary: $119,960
- #89 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: data not available

National
- Annual mean salary: $116,080
- Employment: 125,280
- Entry level education requirements: Master’s degree
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Salinas, CA ($168,220)
--- Waterbury, CT ($165,230)
--- Portsmouth, NH-ME ($158,020)
- Job description: Provide healthcare services typically performed by a physician, under the supervision of a physician. Conduct complete physicals, provide treatment, and counsel patients. May, in some cases, prescribe medication. Must graduate from an accredited educational program for physician assistants.
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#3. Dentists, general

Fort Smith, AR-OK
- Annual mean salary: $120,620
- #250 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: data not available

National
- Annual mean salary: $180,830
- Employment: 95,920
- Entry level education requirements: Doctoral or professional degree
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Dover-Durham, NH-ME ($286,540)
--- North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, FL ($278,790)
--- Portland-South Portland, ME ($278,390)
- Job description: Examine, diagnose, and treat diseases, injuries, and malformations of teeth and gums. May treat diseases of nerve, pulp, and other dental tissues affecting oral hygiene and retention of teeth. May fit dental appliances or provide preventive care.
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Grace Nichols // U.S. Air Force

#2. Pharmacists

Fort Smith, AR-OK
- Annual mean salary: $133,810
- #71 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 300

National
- Annual mean salary: $125,460
- Employment: 315,470
- Entry level education requirements: Doctoral or professional degree
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Madera, CA ($165,350)
--- Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA ($162,540)
--- Vallejo-Fairfield, CA ($161,120)
- Job description: Dispense drugs prescribed by physicians and other health practitioners and provide information to patients about medications and their use. May advise physicians and other health practitioners on the selection, dosage, interactions, and side effects of medications.
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#1. Family medicine physicians

Fort Smith, AR-OK
- Annual mean salary: $221,720
- #129 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: data not available

National
- Annual mean salary: $214,370
- Employment: 98,590
- Entry level education requirements: Doctoral or professional degree
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Bloomsburg-Berwick, PA ($309,800)
--- Napa, CA ($302,040)
--- Gadsden, AL ($292,110)
- Job description: Diagnose, treat, and provide preventive care to individuals and families across the lifespan. May refer patients to specialists when needed for further diagnosis or treatment.

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