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According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), rural health clinics were established in 1977 as a method of providing healthcare access to Medicare patients in rural areas of the U.S. This includes access to physicians as well as other healthcare professionals, including nurse practitioners, physician assistants, clinical psychologists, and more. Definitive Healthcare tracks over 4,600 rural health clinics, more than 4,300 of which are currently active. These facilities focus on providing both primary care as well as preventative care to Medicare patients across the rural U.S.

In order to qualify as a rural health clinic, facilities must meet specific criteria, including:

  • Location in a non-urbanized area as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau
  • Employ at least one nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant
  • Have a nurse practitioner, physician’s assistant, or nurse-midwife working at least half the time a clinic is open
  • Offer routine diagnostic services and more

Of the rural health clinics listed below, 44 percent reported belonging to a health system. This could be advantageous, with health systems offering greater resources for clinics to provide diagnostic and other laboratory services. Health system membership could also aid in securing staffing, either through the health system itself or through negotiations with a staffing company. Interestingly, the number of visits reported by rural health clinics did not necessarily correlate to total costs. London Women’s Care ranked 21st for total number of visits, but had higher total costs than 8 of the top 10 clinics. Higher costs could be attributed to a variety of factors, including health system membership, location, patient demographics, and more.

 

Top 25 Rural Health Clinics by Total Visits

  Clinic Name Total Visits Total Costs Network

1.

Unitypoint Clinic Family Medicine - Belle Plaine

190,459

$30,302,409

UnityPoint Health

2.

Hutchinson Clinic on Waldron

147,419

$18,768,816

Hutchinson Clinic

3.

Quincy Medical Group - 1025 Main

145,539

$22,137,919

 

4.

PCA Greenville

142,772

$21,365,018

Baylor Scott & White Health

5.

Primary Care Centers of Eastern Ky - Hazard

140,852

$18,916,218

 

6.

Mercy Clinic Family Medicine - Lebanon

134,437

$15,890,147

Mercy (MO)

7.

Beverly Hills Medical Clinic

101,373

$15,850,072

 

8.

Family Health Care Associates - Pineville

99,889

$9,298,354

 

9.

Jones Regional Medical Center Family Medicine - Anamosa

91,995

$16,116,483

UnityPoint Health Des Moines

10.

Mercy Clinic Family Medicine - St Robert

91,952

$10,547,358

Mercy (MO)

11.

Evergreen Family Medicine - Main Office

88,483

$17,043,882

 

12.

Kneibert Clinic Llc

87,870

$11,472,290

Saint Francis Health System

13.

Ferguson Medical Group - Charleston

87,042

$9,010,721

 

14.

Ferguson Medical Group - East Prairie

82,069

$7,673,867

 

15.

Clark Clinic - Sumter County Clinic

78,590

$7,096,456

 

16.

Center for Medical Arts Rural Health

75,306

$11,266,275

Southern Illinois Healthcare

17.

Lynden Family Medicine

73,741

$12,541,529

 

18.

Logan Primary Care - Herrin

70,304

$5,554,217

Southern Illinois Healthcare

19.

Hannibal Clinic - Hannibal

68,086

$7,900,987

 

20.

Pediatrics In Brevard - Melbourne

67,520

$8,665,965

 

21.

London Womens Care

66,342

$21,761,185

 

22.

Apex Medical Group

66,060

$8,296,547

 

23.

CHRISUS Trinity Clinic - Mineola

65,060

$7,257,164

CHRISTUS Trinity Mother Frances Health System

24.

Elm Clinic

63,583

$11,247,033

Saint Alphonsus Health System

25.

Physicians Park Primary Care

63,375

$9,336,660

 

Fig 1. Data from Definitive Healthcare based on self-reporting and reports from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).