Health agencies eye merging


Two health agencies serving the community are exploring the idea of blending their services.

A Public Forum will be held Tuesday at Miles Community College, hosted by Custer County Community Health Center and Custer County Public Health Department. 

The two entities are moving toward integrating their services and are seeking feedback from the community. The forum will be held Tuesday, March 4 at 6 p.m. at MCC Room 317, and will be facilitated by Dan Clark of the MSU Local Government Center. 

The Custer County Commissioners will accept comments until March 14. The Commissioners will make a final decision regarding the integration on March 19. 

“Our organizations have been working toward this integration for some time,” said Wendy Richards, Director of CCPHD. “The Custer County Commissioners and our organizations would like to hear the communities’ input and feedback, as we would like to be a community-driven organization.”

With the passage of the Affordable Care Act and the mandates attached to it, the organizations believe it to be increasingly important to work together, according to a recent release. Integrated service delivery models are a national movement as a way to increase quality of care, efficiency and accountability for the cost of that care. 

“Our two organizations are similar in missions and visions, but unique enough that together we can accomplish many great things with healthcare in our community,” Richards said. “Custer County Community Health Center is federally funded. Custer County Public Health is funded via local, state and federal dollars. Custer County Community Health has a focus of Primary Care with an increasing focus on prevention efforts. Custer County Public Health has many prevention programs.”

This past year, Custer County Public Health moved over to the Veterans Affairs facility, where the Custer County Community Health Center is housed, so the agencies already share a site.