A Dell Rapids doctor will be joining the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribal Health Center April 15.
Dr. Joe Prasek will leave Avera Medical Group Dell Rapids in early April to work in Flandreau. He has served patients there for more than 15 years.
Leah Fyten, CEO at the tribal heath center, said the tribe has been talking with Prasek for three years. “It’s going to be fantastic. We’re excited,” she said.
Prasek, 50, will be the chief medical officer. The tribe also is working to recruit a second doctor, a woman from Minnesota who may join the health center in June, Fyten said.
Prasek, a full-scope family practice doctor, said that because of a health incident last summer, he wanted to work in a position where he didn’t have to take after-hour calls. In addition, “I’ve kind of always envisioned myself working with the native population. I’m part native,” he said.
Prasek is a registered member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, lived his very early years in Mission and spent the rest of his childhood in Vermillion. He graduated from the University of South Dakota with his medical degree in 2000 and did a three-year residency in Sioux City, Iowa. He moved to Dell Rapids in 2003, where he, his wife and children will continue to live while he commutes to Flandreau. He has two sons in college, a daughter in high school and a son in middle school.
For now, Prasek will be the only doctor at the tribal health center. The tribe opened its new outpatient medical facility in September 2017 and briefly employed a doctor. Patients have been served since by a physician assistant and visiting nurse practitioners and physician assistants. The center is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Prasek, one of four doctors in Dell Rapids, also served as an outreach doctor at Avera Medical Group in Colton.
Scott Hargens, who is the hospital administrator in Dell Rapids and at Avera in Flandreau, said he is happy that the tribe is getting Prasek as a doctor because he is very skilled.
“They’ve got a wonderful, wonderful physician coming to town. Dr. Prasek is a phenomenal doctor,” Hargens said. “We are very sad to see him leave Dell Rapids, but also very excited and happy for the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe and the community in general.”
Hargens said Avera is actively recruiting for a provider to fill Prasek’s position in Dell Rapids.