Rural Health Care begins Brookings operations


BROOKINGS – Rural Health Care Inc. (RHCI) has received federal authorization to expand its existing Federally Qualified Health Center operations in eastern South Dakota.

On Nov. 1, RHCI began operating Access Health – Brookings in the community of Brookings. This FQHC expansion will increase access to the benefits of a community health center (CHC) for nearly 12,000 residents in the region.

Community health centers deliver high-quality primary care services to all, regardless of their ability to pay. Patients benefit from services based upon a sliding fee discount and reduced cost prescriptions for those who qualify.

Access Health – Brookings will be a collaborative project with Avera Health, building upon an existing successful collaboration in South Dakota and southwest Minnesota. The FQHC will operate from space leased in an existing Avera facility, incorporating existing providers and staff. Current patients will continue to receive professional health care from their trusted providers without interruption. Both new and existing patients may qualify for primary care services at a discounted fee based upon income.

“Rural Health Care Inc. is proud to be able to improve access to affordable health care for the residents of eastern South Dakota,” said Jim Hardwick, chief executive officer of RHCI. “Existing collaborative projects between RHCI and Avera have proven to be extremely successful in reducing barriers and increasing access to primary care services. This expansion brings together the expertise of two organizations with similar missions to achieve one common objective – to efficiently provide high quality health care for all, regardless of the ability to pay,” Hardwick said.

“This collaboration allows a rural setting to have affordable health care in a number of services, including primary care, annual physicals, chronic disease manage, lab and X-ray services, immunizations and more, “ said David Flicek, chief administrative officer for Avera Medical Group.