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Access to preventative medicine is a powerful countermeasure to afflictions such as respiratory disease, stroke, cancer and heart disease. Unfortunately, lack of access to quality, affordable healthcare is one of the reasons rural Americans are more likely than their city-dwelling peers to die of such preventable diseases.
This makes the mission of Horizon Health Care Inc., the largest community-based health care organization in South Dakota, all the more relevant. Horizon provides personalized, affordable, quality healthcare through a network of 26 community health centers in 19 rural South Dakota communities.
Horizon will celebrate 40 years of care in 2018. It has long been committed to serving indigent and medically underserved populations. Slightly more than half of Horizon’s patients have an income at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level.
No patient is turned away due to inability to pay. The Horizon Health Foundation was formed in 2016 as a way of ensuring some of the neediest patients receive the care they need. Individuals and families in need may also qualify for Horizon’s Sliding Fee Program, which offers reduced prices on office visits and clinic services, or its 340B Pharmacy Program, which provides discounted pricing on prescription drugs.
In the past four years, Horizon has grown considerably, undergoing six renovation and expansion projects — three of which were partially funded by the Rural Electric Economic Development (REED) Fund.
Since receiving a REED Fund loan in 2013, Horizon has opened two new medical clinics, two new dental clinics and merged with another community health center — adding five additional medical clinics.
"Horizon’s partnership with REED has been instrumental to our growth and overall efforts to ensure affordable, quality healthcare access for rural South Dakotans for years to come," says Horizon CEO John Mengenhausen.
In June 2017, a merger with allPOINTS Health will add five medical and dental clinics to the network, bringing the total number of medical and dental clinics across the state to 31.
While improved access to healthcare is the primary goal, Horizon’s expanding facilities have other benefits for the communities where its clinics are located, such as job creation. In recent years, Horizon has nearly doubled its employee base.
Horizon gives back to the communities it serves, supporting local school and community activities throughout the year with donations, volunteerism and sponsorships. Many employees follow Horizon’s community-minded lead and are actively involved with the local chambers, schools and other organizations.