Prairie Lakes Healthcare System welcomed Senator John Thune on Thursday, October 2nd. Senator Thune visited with staff and patients as he toured the facility. The growth of PrairieLakes and current healthcare challenges were discussed.
Senator Thune recently assisted Prairie Lakes resolve a dialysis reimbursement issue with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The issue affected Prairie Lakes dialysis units located in Watertown, Sisseton, and Ortonville, MN. Senator Thune requested to see the Watertown dialysis unit during his tour.
Senator Thune inquired about the history and success of Prairie Lakes. Hospital administration described strategies to develop services and partnerships on the basis of mission alignment rather than corporate alignment, supporting the organization’s independent status.
Growth strategies were also discussed. PrairieLakes has established 14 specialty outreach clinics in the region, most of which have been developed in recent years. These clinics allow patients access to care close to home. Rural community hospitals in Milbank, SD and Dawson, MN received support from Prairie Lakes to develop chemotherapy services. The organization’s medical staff has grown from employing one physician in 2003 to 22 physicians today.
Senator Thune was able to interact with cancer center staff and patients and inquire about radiation oncology services. Cardiac catheterization lab staff and Dr. Evelio Garcia, Interventional Cardiologist, visited with Senator Thune. He was shown catheterization lab images and recognized the benefits of having heart care services provided locally with rapid response times.