Rural Health Clinics help people in our communities access better medical care.
Rural Health Clinics provide primary medical care and lab services to patients in rural communities. Historically, rural communities have had a hard time attracting and retaining health care professionals. In other words, access to health care is a problem because of the limited number of health care providers for the number of residents in the area.
In 1977, the Rural Health Clinic Services Act was passed to address the shortage of physicians serving patients who live in rural areas. In addition, the act addressed how rural areas use non-physician clinicians, such as nurse practitioners and physician assistants (also called advance practice providers). This team approach between the physician and the advance practice provider means you have access to more appointment times and allows you to see someone in a timelier manner. Advanced practice providers work closely with physicians and are highly educated and well qualified to take care of your health care needs. We truly are a team of providers working together to make sure you receive well organized, high quality care every time you are seen at one of our health centers.
All five HSHS St. Clare Memorial Hospital Prevea Health Centers (Oconto Falls, Lena, Gillett, Suring and Mountain) are Rural Health Clinics who go through an extensive process every year to be Rural Health Certified. To maintain Rural Health Certification, clinics must meet criteria in terms of where they are located as well as meet requirements regarding following up to date policies and procedures, reviewing medical records to make sure proper documentation is happening with every patient, evaluate programs to make sure they are offering the medical services needed to serve patient’s health care needs in each community and undergo a facility inspection.
What all of this means to you is that maintaining our Rural Health Certification for these health centers, and receiving prompt and appropriate reimbursement for services provided to Medicare and Medicaid patients, help to make the health centers successful for everyone in the community who receives health care at the one of the health centers. We are proud to be part of communities throughout Oconto County, and look forward to being here to serve your health care needs for years to come.