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  • Rural Health Care, Inc. and Avera Announce Collaboration in Chamberlain

Published on March 13, 2014

Rural Health Care, Inc. and Avera announce collaboration in Chamberlain


CHAMBERLAIN, S.D. (March 13, 2014) – Rural Health Care, Inc. (RHCI), in collaboration with Avera, will begin operating Dakota Family Medical Center in Chamberlain, providing service to six central South Dakota counties, as well as residents of the Lower Brule and Crow Creek Indian Reservations.

Dakota Family Medical Center is approved as a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC).  This collaboration, which launches Thursday, Feb. 27, brings together the benefits associated with an FQHC designation and the expertise and technology of Avera.

Created in 1991 under federal law, FQHCs are “safety net” health care providers that charge for services on a sliding-fee scale based on family income and size, and provide services to all regardless of their ability to pay or health insurance status. Established in 1987, Rural Health Care, Inc. operates six other community-based and one school-based health center in central South Dakota communities.

Jim Hardwick, CEO of Rural Health Care, Inc., said, “Avera’s willingness and enthusiasm to collaborate with RHCI provides a value-added opportunity for both organizations.  The collaboration will allow the health center to reach more citizens in need of quality health care than could be achieved individually.  In today’s health care climate, where serving more patients in a cost-effective manner is the goal, we are very confident that the delivery model in Chamberlain may well become a model of collaboration for others.”

Dakota Family Medical Center, in partnership with Avera, is located at 101 S. Front St., and will see patients in Chamberlain. The existing facilities, staff, services, access to specialty services, and technology, currently provided by Avera, are being contracted to RHCI. In addition, benefits offered through RHCI include the sliding-fee scale and reduced prescription drug pricing. Employees of the facility remain Avera employees, who are contracted under the direct leadership of RHCI.

“This innovative collaboration improves access to high quality medical care for more uninsured or underinsured South Dakota residents in the community of Chamberlain and surrounding area,” said David Flicek, Chief Administrative Officer for Avera Medical Group. “Avera has a long history of supporting rural health care. We believe this will lead to a healthier population as a whole, thus having a positive impact on the Chamberlain community and surrounding area.”

The center provides a full range of primary health care services including preventative care and annual physicals, chronic disease management, acute illness management, women’s health care, immunizations, laboratory and X-ray services, and more.