Rural Health Clinics

Rural Health Clinics

A Lifeline to Everyday Care

The importance of Rural Health Clinics like Boone County Health System

In the heart of America, where communities are smaller and the population is dispersed more sporadically, Rural Health Clinics play a pivotal role in improving access to local care. Nebraska is home to 130 such clinics, providing trusted expertise close to home for thousands of Nebraskans. 

More than just a doctor’s office located in a remote town, the term “Rural Health Clinic” is a certification granted by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to health care facilities in rural areas that have been designated as underserved or as a shortage area. 

For reference, about two-thirds of Nebraska has been deemed medically underserved, and at least 91 of Nebraska’s 93 counties suffer a primary health care shortage in at least one specialty. 

“If a clinic is representative of the human body, they would be the torso to everything that is provided in health care,” said Caleb Poore, President and CEO of Boone County Health Center (BCHC). 

Boone County Health Center operates five rural health clinics located in Albion and the surrounding communities of Elgin, Newman Grove, Spalding and Fullerton. 

Rural Health Clinics like BCHC offer routine check-ups, preventive care, chronic disease management and treatment in minor emergencies. BCHC offers a range of specialties from obstetric care to cardiac rehab to imaging services such as MRI scans. 

BCHC Vice President of Clinic Services Kristie Stricklin says that the clinic’s wide array of specialty offerings is one way it offers immense value to local residents. Specialists visit BCHC regularly, allowing residents to avoid the time and cost restraints of journeying to an urban facility to receive care. 

This accessibility is just one factor that makes Rural Health Clinics so important. BCHC and similar facilities are on a mission to remove barriers to accessing high-quality health care, and in the process, offer their neighbors a lifeline.

Rural Health Clinics like BCHC have a crucial role to play in addressing health care disparities that disproportionately affect rural populations. Nationally, the ratio of primary care physicians per 100,000 patients is only 39.8 across rural regions, compared to 53.3 in urban America.

By offering affordable, accessible services close to home, Rural Health Clinics help bridge the gap between rural and urban health care outcomes. They ensure that all Nebraskans, regardless of their zip code or socioeconomic status, have access to the care they need 

“I love rural health because they are there for not only me, but my family, the rest of my community and my co-workers,” Kristie Stricklin said. “They are just an important piece of everyday life.”  


Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) Overview (n.d.). Rural Health Information Hub.