Since 2005, the underinsured and uninsured population of Jefferson County and southern Dodge County relied on Rock River Free Clinic and Watertown Cares Clinic for primary health care services, and dental care from the Community Dental Clinic who also served people insured through Medicaid. Each of these “safety net clinics” were started by volunteers who recognized the need for these services. Local donations, private grants and public support were all critical to their success.
The safety net clinics provided excellent care, and patients were very satisfied with their care. Care providers and volunteers enjoyed serving this population as a meaningful and benevolent use of their skills.
The clinics grew and in 2018, these three clinics saw 6,872 individual patients with approximately 9,500 total visits. All clinics shared two major challenges – expanding access to care for low-income people and long-term sustainability.
In 2019, the Rock River Community Clinic (RRCC) was established, combining all three safety-net clinics into one organization, which has allowed them to align operations and transition to an integrated, community-based health care model (or Federally Qualified Health Center). RRCC’s overall mission and vision are to achieve the following:
RRCC now offers health and dental care to the uninsured, underinsured, and low income population throughout Dodge and Jefferson WI counties, and parts of Walworth County. Services are offered through four clinic locations. Fees for services are assessed and applied through an initial financial screening prior to service. Services will not be denied based on an individual’s ability to pay. RRCC staff and providers are dedicated to providing high-quality, compassionate and comprehensive care.
The Rock River Health Care Network (RRHCN), also formed in 2019, has been a support for patient care by helping to fund a new electronic medical record system and provide consulting and staff assistance for RRCC’s FQHC Look-Alike application.
RRHCN is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of an award totaling $900,00 over three years.