Vicki Plumlee is the Director of Clinics for Elk River Health Services, Inc. (ERHS), which includes clinics in Anderson, Goodman, Pineville, and Southwest City. This independent, physician-owned system serves 18,000 to 20,000 patients each year.
Elk River opened its first clinic in 1980 and became a rural health clinic in 1994. Vicki has worked with ERHS for 19 years.
As the Director of Clinics, Vicki is responsible for all facets of the clinics’ operations, including, “human resources and benefits, marketing, recruiting, training, contracting, financials, clinical and non-clinical staff oversight, HIPAA, OSHA, EMR Meaningful Use, maintenance, negotiation and fun!”
Vicki says she “stumbled” into rural health after working in a hospital for five years. She came to ERHS after being contacted by Dr. Robert Hill, who founded ERHS with his wife, Megan Gore Hill. Even though working at the clinic required an hour commute, she decided to take the job because she was so impressed by Dr. Hill’s passion for serving patients in rural communities.
Rural health has now become Vicki’s passion as well. “The joy and satisfaction of providing health care in our area is very humbling and to be able to do that while employing people who live in the county makes us proud as well. We are providing health care and supporting families through employment,” she said.
Vicki’s commitment to serving rural areas led her to become involved in the Missouri Association of Rural Health Clinics (MARHC). She and ERHS were founding members of the organization, and Vicki continues to serve on the MARHC Board.
RHCs face a variety of challenges, including changing technology, increased costs, and reduced revenue. Vicki sees the role of MARHC as utilizing legislative advocacy and collaboration among clinics to help ensure that RHCs are able to continue serving their communities.
Vicki’s work at ERHS and MARHC keeps her very busy, but she finds this work fulfilling and worthwhile. “The joy of being here for our patients and our employees is very satisfying. We are family,” she said.