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Blaine County uninsured care expanding with Family Health Services clinic

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Posted at 6:48 PM, Jul 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-27 11:47:56-04

BELLEVUE, Idaho — The St. Luke's Wood River Foundation is working to expand services of care for those who are uninsured or underinsured.

Last year, more than 700 Blaine County patients had to travel to either Jerome or Fairfield to get health care. To address this issue, Family Health Services, had a plan to open a medical, dental, and behavioral health clinic, with pharmacy services in Bellevue. That clinic will now be a reality, thanks to a $1 million grant from the St. Luke’s Wood River Foundation.

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“I think this will potentially be one of the most impactful projects that we have been part of and really touch those who have been the most vulnerable in our community,” said Megan Tanous, the St. Luke’s Wood River Foundation chief development officer

All the services at this new clinic for the uninsured are said to be significantly discounted based on a patient’s federal poverty level.

“We are thrilled about them coming into our community and helping us care for our most under-sourced, underinsured, and vulnerable community members,” said Erin Pfaeffle with St Luke’s Center for Community Health.

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Within Blaine County, the Hunger Coalition works daily to find resources for struggling community members, and they say a large portion of their population is living paycheck to paycheck, and often medical expenses are a struggle.


“The people that are powering this economy are just faced with incredible towering challenges,” said Kristin McMahon with the Hunger Coalition.

Family Health Services has secured a lease for a building in Bellevue, which will need a remodel. The clinic is slated to open in the fall of 2021.

Family Health Services is also working to hire two full-time nurse practitioners, one full-time dentist, one part-time hygienist, one full-time licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) counselor, one full-time pharmacist, and bilingual support staff.

These types of clinics usually can secure government grants to fund start-up costs. These government grants are based on median income and health statistics, but Blaine County’s median income is too high and its health statistics are too good to qualify for a start-up grant.

Without the Foundation’s support, Family Health Services would not be able to provide these needed services to patients in Blaine County.