Since 2005, the underinsured and uninsured populations of Jefferson County and southern Dodge County relied on the Rock River Free Clinic and Watertown Cares Clinic for primary health care services and the Community Dental Clinic (which also served patients insured through Medicaid/BadgerCare).

These “safety net clinics” were established by volunteers who recognized the need for these services and the crucial impact they would have on area children & families. Local donations, private grants, and public support were all critical to their patient care and overall success.

All three clinics provided excellent care and experienced high patient satisfaction. The clinics’ care providers and volunteers were dedicated to serving their patients as a meaningful and benevolent use of their time and skills.

With an increasing demand for services, the clinics continued to grow, and in 2018, the three clinics treated 6,872 individual patients, totaling 9,500 visits. The healthcare needs of the communities presented all clinics with two major challenges – expanding access to care for low-income people and long-term sustainability.

To address these shared challenges, the Rock River Community Clinic (RRCC) was established in 2019, combining all three safety-net clinics into one organization, allowing them to align operations and transition to a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) – an integrated, community-based health care model.

Under that new model, RRCC’s mission is to provide quality, comprehensive health care to all. Its vision of a healthy community where all people thrive can be achieved through the following:

  • Improving the quality and coordination of healthcare services
  • Increasing community members’ access to healthcare services
  • Improving health outcomes for low-income residents

RRCC now offers health and dental care to the uninsured, underinsured, and low-income populations throughout Dodge, Jefferson, and parts of Walworth Counties. With support from the Rock River Health Care Network (HealthWorks), RRCC began the process of becoming an FQHC-Look-Alike in January 2020.

HealthWorks is a coalition of local healthcare organizations working collectively to increase health equity in Jefferson, Dodge & Walworth Counties by specifically focusing on low-income individuals’ access to primary care. HealthWorks partners include Fort Healthcare, Greater Watertown Community Health Foundation, Watertown Regional Medical Center, Rainbow Hospice Care, Jefferson County Health Department, Jefferson County Human Services, Rock River Community Clinic, and the City of Watertown Health Department.

After almost two full years of progress and transitions, in September 2022, RRCC was officially recommended for designation as an FQHC-LAL by HRSA. By the start of 2023, RRCC was officially operating as a Federally Qualified Health Center Look-Alike.

For full details on the benefits of this transition, please visit our FQHC page.