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Collaboration Will Make Health Care More Accessible For Mitchell Residents

Oct 30, 2019 10:04AM ● By MED Magazine

Rural Health Care, Inc. (RHCI), in collaboration with Avera Medical Group (AMG) Mitchell, will begin operating Access Health – Mitchell at the AMG Family Health Center located on the Avera Grassland Health Campus effective Nov. 1, 2019. 

Access Health – Mitchell will be a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC), which means that more than 32,000 southeastern South Dakota residents will gain access to the benefits that designation provides – including a sliding-fee schedule based on ability to pay as defined by federal income guidelines.

Under federal law, FQHCs are “safety net” health care providers that deliver primary care services to all regardless of their ability to pay or health insurance status.  

As Access Health – Mitchell, RHCI will lease space on the first and second floors of the AMG Family Health Center. AMG Family Medicine, Internal Medicine and Pediatrics clinics, as well as AveraNow, at the AMG Family Health Center will transition to an FQHC under the management of RHCI. Staff and providers at these clinics won’t change and will remain employed by AMG. Current patients can continue to see their present providers without interruption.

“Existing collaborative projects between RHCI and Avera have proven to be extremely successful in reducing barriers and increasing access to care,” said Jim Hardwick, CEO of RHCI. “This collaboration helps assure that quality health care, including preventative care, is accessible to everyone in the region.  In today’s health care environment, where serving more patients in a cost-effective manner is the goal, this collaboration brings forth the best that the two organizations have to offer with one common objective: Providing health care for all, regardless of the ability to pay.”

“Avera is always looking for ways to improve access to high-quality medical care for all patients, especially those who are vulnerable because they are uninsured or underinsured,” said Tom Clark, regional president and CEO of Avera Queen of Peace Hospital. “We believe this will lead to a healthier population as a whole, thus having a positive impact on the Mitchell community and surrounding area.”

Specialty services provided by AMG at the Family Health Center – Dermatology, Surgery and Urology – will remain onsite and will be unaffected by this collaboration.