STORY AND PHOTOS BY KAREN BOSSICK
Leanndra Mix keeps a stack of cards and notes she received from patients thanking her for the compassion and kindness she showed them and how she connected them to resources.
Mix, a Family Health Services nurse, could work anywhere from clinics to hospitals. But she chose to work with the nonprofit medical clinic because, she says, it allows her to give her heart to her patients and do whatever she can for them.
“People want affordable care and to be treated equally. They want to go somewhere that really matters,” she said. “Here, it’s not just numbers on a graph. We invest in them, providing care management and managing chronological cases.
Mix lives in Jerome, but she has traveled about 50 miles a day to Bellevue over the past month to outfit six medical rooms at the new Family Health Services clinic with towels, otoscopes, high blood pressure equipment and procedure lights.
She even placed photographs of iconic landscapes around Sun Valley in the exam rooms, hoping they would lift patients’ moods.
The Chamber will hold the grand opening of the new Family Health Services Clinic located at 621 N. Main St. at noon on Wednesday, March 9. Tours of the facility and light refreshments will be offered from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.
The medical clinic is already operational. Dental and behavioral health services will be added this month and discounted pharmacy services in April.
The expansion into the Wood River Valley was made possible by a $1 million gift from the St. Luke’s Wood River Foundation.
The new medical clinic is a beacon for those on Medicaid and those without health insurance.
The nonprofit clinic offers rolling fee rebates to those whose household income is 200% or more below the federal poverty level. Medical visits are $20 for an office visit with a discount between 60-90% for other medical procedures.
There’s a 50-80% discount for dental services, and behavioral health counseling sessions cost $20 for an hour of counseling. The pharmacy will offer a deep discount through the 340B program, providing a month’s supply of select medications for just $5.
Family Health Services also offers a $1 per month payment plan to ensure everyone can access health care.
Such a clinic was long overdue in the Wood River Valley, said Mix, who has worked for Family Health Services for six years: “Patients tell us how difficult it was for them to find affordable and accessible health care. Some had to travel to Jérôme to find care.
Indeed, last year more than 700 people with addresses in Blaine County visited Family Health Services clinics in Jerome and Fairfield, said Karlie Haskins, marketing communications specialist for Health Services. family.
“We recognize that a person’s income often influences their health, so our approach to healthcare is designed to challenge this,” she added. “We thrive in communities where the need is greatest and we want our patients to know that we are here to make exceptional healthcare accessible to everyone.”
Perhaps most important is the follow-up of patients by Family Health Services.
In some places, Mix said, someone with high blood pressure and uncontrolled diabetes could be given a prescription and asked to check up in three months.
“Our managers walk them through what they need to do, then they contact them as soon as they get home and make sure they’re following doctor’s orders and that they understand what they’re supposed to do,” he said. she declared.
Additionally, nurses examine each patient to determine if they have any special needs that can be met by others in the community. This led to partnerships with various non-profit organizations, including Tough Enough to Wear Pink and Voices Against Violence.
“We have a team to hold their hand through a process that can connect them to other resources,” Mix said. “If someone can’t afford a colonoscopy, we find a way to cover that colonoscopy. We treat the person as a whole, try to see their needs met, whether it’s insecure housing or transport to doctor’s appointments. A patient can find everything they need in one place instead of trying to find it in multiple places.
The new clinic has two providers so far – Dr. Kimberly Tenold and Dr. Alisa Barnes. Doctors will be able to take care of things such as vaccinations, suturing, general assessments, and in-house management of hypertension and diabetes. They will work with St. Luke’s Wood River to perform comprehensive metabolic checkups and address issues such as broken bones.
Family Health Services began in Burley in 1982 when a group of volunteers saw a need for health services in the community. The Bellevue Clinic joins two clinics in Twin Falls, as well as clinics in Kimberly Buhl, Jerome, Fairfield, Burley and Rupert. Family Health Services will open one in Shoshone in August 2022, and they will open an advanced delivery dental clinic in Jerome for adults with special needs in April 2022.
In 2021, Family Health Services clinics handled nearly 150,000 patient visits.
Just over 11% of family health service clients are better served in another language, including Arabic, Bosnian, Burmese, Chinese, Dari, Farsi, Nepali, Kinyarwanda, Kirundi, Pashto, American Sign Language, Spanish, Sudanese, Tigrinya and Vietnamese. . So the clinic routinely relies on translators to ensure these patients are able to actively participate in their healthcare decisions, Haskins said.
Family Health Services also offers free school-based counseling services at 14 different schools so parents don’t have to coordinate transportation for their children.
“Our motto is: Let us help you. Let us take care of you because that’s what we’re here for,” Mix said.