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Horizon Telehealth Provides Health Care Access Statewide

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(HOWARD, SD) – Horizon Health Care provides telehealth services in all three of its service areas – medical, dental, and behavioral health, but during the month of September we’re focusing on the advantages telehealth can provide for mental health needs.

September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. In 2022, over 49,000 Americans, as young as age 10, were victims of suicide, 203 were in South Dakota, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. People living in rural areas are at a significantly higher risk of suicide than those in urban areas, according to the Rural Health Information Hub.

Lack of access to behavioral health care is one of the risk factors of suicide for those living in rural areas, as well as a potential stigma against those seeking mental health care. Geographic distances and unreliable transportation can increase an individual’s isolation and access to a professional who could provide behavioral health care.

Horizon works to eliminate those risk factors by providing telehealth for mental health. Offering services through telehealth technology allows Horizon’s Behavioral Health team to reach patients who can’t make frequent trips to a clinic. This can reduce a patient's stress related to overcoming barriers that limit access to care.

"Horizon serves many rural areas where behavioral health services are scarce,” said Horizon Behavioral Health Manager Rikki Ohlrogge. “We can make a positive impact on patients from the comfort of their homes and help to bridge gaps in care across our expansive network of clinic locations."

While living in a rural area may increase the risk of suicide and other mental health concerns, the close-knit communities found in rural settings can also help decrease suicide risk. Neighbors in small towns reach out when they know someone is suffering, according to RHI. A solid foundation built by multi-generational families living in the same community provides protective factors for suicide.

Patients familiar with their local primary care provider can visit a local Horizon clinic to access behavioral health services. Due to the proximity of behavioral health and medical services, providers can treat the whole person to increase overall wellness.

The Horizon Health Foundation supports programs that remove barriers to care such as transportation, food insecurity, and medical and dental needs to help patients of Horizon Health Care. Horizon served 28,130 patients across its 22-community footprint in 2022. Providers at Horizon’s eight dental clinics helped 9,198 patients. Of those patients, 10,959 were uninsured.

About Horizon Health Foundation

The Horizon Health Foundation was established in 2016 to ensure rural health care access to those in need and provide funding for Horizon Health Care Horizon Health Foundation, a tax-exempt, non-profit corporation, seeks through responsible activities to encourage and derive sustaining gift support from current and former patients and interested friends, including corporate entities. The Horizon Health Foundation Office, operating in coordination with Horizon Health Care, is the duly designated fund-raising arm for Horizon Health Care, Inc.  In the broadest sense, the purpose of the Foundation is to create an awareness of the financial needs of Horizon Health which are not provided by patient charges and to systematically implement plans by which dollar needs can be met. For more information, please visit or call 605.772.4553.