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Big Horn County Health Center Will Provide Care for Underserved

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A private, nonprofit health care corporation plans to complete a $3 million health center in 2012 to reach Big Horn County's vastly underserved, uninsured or underinsured population, reported The Billings Gazette.

The region is dominated by Indian reservations -- the Crow Indian Reservation consumes 64.2 percent of the county; the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation takes up another 6.37 percent.

Bighorn Valley Health Center will help pick up the slack of the Indian Heatlh Services dental clinic at

Crow Agency, which generally caters to only 50 percent of dental need among Native Americans within the county.

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CEO Dr. David Mark stressed the new health center intends to complement, not compete with, existing medical facilities to increase capacity and ability to offer top quality primary care to the 13,000-person county.

"We want to make sure the new kid on the block isn't disruptive," Mark told The Billings Gazette.

While the city of Hardin offers top-quality health care with Hardin Clinic and Big Horn Memorial Hospital, Mark said that many residents are not receiving holistic primary care they need locally.

The center will service everyone regardless of ability to pay. A sliding-scale fee based on income will determine the cost of a service.

"We have found a lot of working poor who are not accessing primary care," Mark told The Billings Gazette.