We know you know the basics of a rural health clinic. An office in a rural area. It’s simple enough but there are actually a few guidelines to think about when it comes to defining a rural health clinic as such and specifically a provider-based health clinic. We’ll outline them here to see if your office classifies as one and why you might want to have a rural health clinic that is provider-based.

The first stipulation for a rural health clinic is that the Census determines the area to be non-urbanized and medically under-served. They’re designed to help those who might not otherwise receive medical care. Provider-based rural health clinics are those that are also a part of a hospital or other health care facility. This is different than an independent rural health clinic that stands alone and we’ll tell you the benefits.

With a clinic owned by a hospital or other health facility (provider-based), all medical records can be cross-referenced and added to without extensive communication to all departments. This means that any updates in your condition, any recently discovered symptoms, or transfer information can easily be shared. This also means that the referral process is streamlined and the same is true for billing.

The reason that you might want to have a provider-based clinic is easy: it gives your patients better options when it comes to treatment. A patient comes in very ill and needs medication, tests, admittance to a hospital, or even surgery. If you weren’t personally connected to a hospital or pharmacy, you would need to refer them and either send over medical records or have them take the information again. This could take days, depending on availability, and meanwhile, your patient is unable to receive care. Being a provider-based rural health clinic ensures a better chance of your patients receiving the care they need, when they need it.