Primary Care Providers In Eau Claire

Most of us believe a healthy lifestyle of eating well and exercising will lead to a long life, but on top of that health experts say clinical care is just as important. Numbers in Eau Claire County show primary care providers per person are much lower than throughout the state.

Fox 25/48's Noelle Anderson tells us what the county is doing to try narrow that gap.

Eat healthy and exercise -- two life-style choices most of us believe will lead to a healthier life -- but what about your medical checkups and seeing a doctor frequently?

"One of the ways people are healthy is by getting good primary care, those visits to make sure you are healthy and you're staying healthy is an important part of how long we live and how healthy we live.

Eau Claire city-county health director Lieske Giese says, currently, primary care providers aren't so easy to come by for all families.

"We know in Eau Claire that we have wonderful primary care physicians and providers, but our lower income population, we can see from the data, that people who are on Badger Care, our Medicaid programs, the provider availability is less than the rest of the state."

Here in Eau Claire, there are 300 more people per care provider, then throughout the state.

"More than half of our population, adults and kids in Eau Claire are on Badger Care. that compares to 36% as a state whole."

Badger Care, also known as Wisconsin’s Medicaid program acts as a health insurance program for lower income families. But Giese says the health department works with local care providers to make sure everyone who needs coverage gets it.

"It is a challenge but we've done a lot of different things as far as how people can access care."

Scott Polenz with Marshfield Clinic says there are even more options for primary care now.

"There’s a traditional model of going to the clinic, we have care my way where people can go talk to a nurse practioner for a small dollar amount."

Giese says clinical care is a huge part of staying healthy, meaning the more checkups you get now, the less medical issues you'll have in the future.

"We're lucky in this community, that there's a huge priority on collaboration by our healthcare systems and a huge priority on looking at prevention really because it saves money, but it also saves lives."

In Eau Claire, Noelle Anderson, Fox 25 48 News at Nine.

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