April 3, 1995 in Nation/World

Physicians Reach Out Doctor-Less Rathdrum May Benefit From National Trend: More Rural Facilities

Craig Welch Staff Writer

Rathdrum residents must get tired of driving to the doctors, says Dr. James Joy.

So, the Shoshone County osteopath wants to bring the physicians to them.

Joy and partners at the Shoshone Medical Arts Center in Kellogg say they’re planning to build a $2 million medical clinic in Rathdrum.

Joy already has bought 1 1/2 acres adjacent to the Lakeland Shopping Center on state Highway 41. He hopes a permanent building, now being designed, will be ready by spring 1996.

The combination family practice and urgent care center would house offices for visiting obstetrician/gynecologists, physical therapists and specialists in internal medicine.

It would be the first of its kind in the now-doctor-less city.

“We’ve been lacking in that area for a long time,” said City Councilman Chuck Holt.”They could probably pull people in even from Spirit Lake.”

Currently most Rathdrum residents are treated in Coeur d’Alene, he said. For more specialized care, residents often have to drive to Spokane.

Joy, who has dabbled in real estate, says doctors have been unable to make a go of it in Rathdrum in the past, but now the time is right.

“This area’s going to continue to boom,” he said, and many Coeur d’Alene family physicians no longer are taking new patients.

Holt agreed. Rathdrum’s lone dentist, Dr. James McNamara, “probably has more business now than he wants,” he said.

Joy is negotiating with city and state officials to use a trailer for a temporary clinic near the shopping center. The aging trailer apparently is an inexpensive way for Joy to test the waters.

“By putting up this clinic we can show the bank that business will do well,” he said. “You can’t borrow $2 million without proof you can make it a go.”

The permanent structure would be similar to the new 18,000-square-foot Medical Arts Center in Kellogg that opens today.

That two-story business employs 30 people, 19 of them full-time. It has 18 offices and a scrub room for minor surgery. Many of the same visiting doctors would work out of the Rathdrum clinic, he said.

“We’ve got the doctors (lined up), now it’s just a matter of getting the facility built,” said Joy.

Joy’s center would be run by Dr. Robert McGuire, a family practitioner now residing in Southern California.

McGuire said the move to bring specialists into rural areas is happening nationwide.

“I think this is the way medicine is going to have to be practiced in the future,” McGuire said. “Idaho has only seen minimal change when you compare it to the West Coast and the East Coast.”

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