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Grant Brings New Medical Centers To SD

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36 percent of medical patients seen in South Dakota last year were uninsured. Now, federal money is helping clinics in Yankton and Fort Pierre give some of those patients the care they need.

"It's amazing the number of people that this is going to affect," said Brad Bertrand, AllPoints Health Services CEO.

In just a matter of months, thousands of South Dakotans will have access to health care services they didn't before.

AllPoints Health Services CEO Brad Bertrand is part of a group that applied for a planning grant more than two years ago, after Yankton was designated as a medically under served area.

Thanks to a 1.3 million dollar grant, two new health centers with a common goal of helping the uninsured and underinsured will open in Yankton and Fort Pierre.

"We provide services on a sliding fee scale, which is based on income, and allows people that are uninsured and underinsured access to primary health care at an affordable cost," said Bertrand.

"The people that will likely use the center are ones that even if they would be requred to purchase health care services, they can't afford to," said Pamela Rezac, Avera Sacred Heart CEO.

The new Yankton health center will be located in the Pavilion building at Avera Sacred Heart Hospital.

"We will be offering family practice services, behavioral health care, dentistry, referral services to about anything that one would need," said Bertrand.

Unlike an emergency room atmosphere, the new health center will give patients the opportunity to have more regular visits.

"This will provide the continuity of care instead of people coming for an emergent problem," said Rezac.

Now, the race is on to get the clinic up and running by March.

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