Before long, the Silver Valley’s working poor will have a place to go when they are sick.
The Panhandle Health District Board on Tuesday approved in principle the use of the district’s Kellogg office for the Shoshone Community Health Clinic.
It will open as soon as some practical issues, such as insurance, are resolved.
The clinic will offer free care on one evening per week, nurse Cindy Williams said.
There’s strong community support for the idea.
“We had over 50 people at our organizational meeting on Oct. 16,” said Williams, who works for the health district in Kellogg.
“We have a list of more than 40 people who have volunteered. Some physicians, some registered nurses, some LPNs, some people who are willing to come and do anything - financial screening, copying records.”
It was Dr. Alan Seeley who asked for the health district’s help in opening a free clinic.
The clinic is meant to help the working poor, Williams said.
“These are people that are making too much to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to afford health insurance and certainly not enough to pay for their own medical care.”
Clinic organizers have worked actively since August on the project. They met in September with Sandy Mamola, executive director of Lake City Health Care.
That Coeur d’Alene free clinic has been operating for seven years. Using that as a model has given a jump-start to the Shoshone Community Health Clinic.
“We’re sharing chart information, bylaws, clinic procedures,” Williams said. “That’s probably the only reason we can get this going as quickly as we can. Sandy Mamola has been great.”
A clinic board of directors is being formed. Its first tasks will include the purchase of liability and malpractice insurance, which Williams expect to cost $1,000 a year. That will be covered by donations and a yet-undetermined contribution from Shoshone County.
The clinic will also need to buy supplies and will be looking for ways to provide medicine. Several pharmacies have already offered reduced-cost prescriptions, Williams said.
Some residents can’t wait for opening day.
“We had somebody show up this morning, saying they’d been told by their physician that there would be a free clinic here,” Williams said.