fdlreporter, September 20, 2010

The recent construction of rural clinics means more convenient access for residents, but questions linger about whether the small towns can support the building boom.

Farming families and countryside dwellers who once drove miles into town for treatment now have a clinic in their backyard. Major medical providers started building rural clinics about four years ago, and more are on the way.

But the smallest towns now face the biggest obstacles, like uninsured or underinsured patients, inadequate Medicaid and Medicare payments and fierce competition.

Fond du Lac's rural areas need easy access to care, especially as patients age. They don't want to drive into the city of Fond du Lac, said Steve Little, Agnesian HealthCare executive vice president.

Agnesian sought out rural markets 20 years ago. Today, it has locations in Mayville, North Fond du Lac, Markesan, Brandon, Brownsville, Campbellsport, Fox Lake, Ripon and Waupun. A new 5,350-square-foot facility is under construction in Mount Calvary and expected to open this fall.

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