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Meet a Missouri Rural Health Clinic: Elk River Health Services

1. What is the name of your clinic, are you provider-based or independent, and where in Missouri are you located?

Elk River Health Services, Inc. has 4 locations: Anderson Rural Health Clinic, Goodman Family Clinic, Pineville Medical Clinic and Southwest City Community Clinic. I am going to focus on our oldest clinic, Southwest City Community Clinic.

Southwest City Community Clinic is independent and it is located in Southwest City, Missouri in McDonald County. We are about 1 mile from Oklahoma and 1 mile from Arkansas. Southwest City has a population of 937. Our clinic opened in 1980 and converted to a certified rural health clinic in 1993.

2. What are some things your RHC has struggled with?

The Southwest City Community Clinic struggles with:

[if !supportLists]· [endif]trying to stay independent

[if !supportLists]· [endif]trying to stay on top of healthcare changes

[if !supportLists]· [endif]being able to meet and maintain technology needs

[if !supportLists]· [endif]providing adequate staff support

[if !supportLists]· [endif]uncertain patient volume

3. How are you addressing these challenges?

We are addressing these challenges by:

[if !supportLists]· [endif]Spending wisely

[if !supportLists]· [endif]Being as productive as possible while showing our staff appreciation for all they do through the best pay and benefits that we can afford

[if !supportLists]· [endif]Continually working and talking with technology experts to find and figure out better ways to stay connected to “The Cloud” in rural Missouri. Some days we refer to it as the Black Cloud :O)

[if !supportLists]· [endif]Staying active with our public health entities, developing relationships when needed and necessary, staying active in legislation and with our state and federal associations

4. What are some things your RHC excels in?

Our RHC excels in providing quality healthcare with quality staff. We are who we serve. We try to stay aware - wide eyed to the world. We plan and then we change that plan! We have a vision that we are always working toward. We learn new lessons every day. What you are focusing on as a concern today may change tomorrow. Being adaptable, creative and working to keep doors open through collaboration is crucial to survival. We focus on trying to stay independent because we feel we are helping the community that we serve and we are carrying our own load while giving our patients choice based on where their insurance is currently driving them.

5. Why does your RHC excel in these areas? What steps has it taken?

Our physician owner was the first in the area to hire nurse practitioners and they are the back bone of what we do as an independent rural health clinic. Our physician owner helps them to be successful and learns from them at the same time through wisdom and humility.

6. What are the biggest changes your clinic has seen in recent years?

Some of the biggest changes we have seen over the year is the addition of 3 sister clinics, EMR, and Meaningful Use.

7. What is something your clinic would like to learn more about?

Our clinic would like to learn more about becoming a Patient Centered Medical Home. We feel that is our next step.

8. If another clinic has expertise in this area, who should they contact and how?

Anyone that would be interested in sharing their wisdom with me can contact Vicki Plumlee at 417-762-3287 or

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