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How Innovative Teamwork Saved This Rural Health Center

Rural healthcare providers are not often thought of as bastions of entrepreneurship. Yet when you look closer, you can sometimes find stories of dramatic innovation.

High Plains Community Health Center in Lamar, Colo. provides primary care, dental care and behavioral health services a well as an onsite pharmacy. It serves more than 10,000 patients per year, most of whom are low-income and many of whom are elderly.

Like many rural health centers, High Plains sometimes struggled to recruit providers. Back in the late 1990s, they had only three doctors on staff, two full-time and one part-time. This led to problems with long patient wait times, low productivity, financial challenges, and tension between front and back office staff.