Trustee queries investment in Kooskia Clinic

— “I do not feel we can get the numbers up in the Kooskia Clinic if we do not have the providers there consistently,” emphasized Syringa Hospital trustee Dick Tucker of Kooskia. Tucker spoke to the board at the regular meeting July 27.

Clinic coordinator/manager Michelle Schaeffer explained the clinics have been in “crisis mode.”

“We need more providers and that’s being worked on,” she said, saying sometimes the Kooskia provider had been moved to Grangeville to cover the clinic where there were a greater number of patients.

“Yes,” agreed chief of staff Dr. Danny Griffis. “The reality is, we are stretched pretty thing – even in Grangeville, appointments are three weeks out. A rubber band can only stretch so far before it breaks.”

Griffis said the issue of physician shortage is a national problem throughout rural America.

“I agree it is frustrating and I’m sorry. I know [the Kooskia Clinic] has been on your heart,” Griffis spoke to Tucker.

Tucker said the situation was similar to former School District 241’s (now Mountain View School District 244) treatment of Kooskia.

“When Grangeville got any new equipment, Kooskia always got the old stuff,” he said. “I would hate to see the clinic go down the tubes.”

“I think we need to dive into this with some factual information,” Schaeffer stated.

Board chair Dave Green agreed.

“This is an item we need to put on the agenda for next month’s meeting,” he said. “Are the numbers there? We need to find out.”

“I don’t feel we can get the numbers if we don’t have the providers,” Tucker said, ending the discussion on the Kooskia Clinic.

In unrelated news, board education at the meeting included nurse Carol Moehrle out of the North Central Idaho Health District (NCIHD) in Lewiston.

Moehrle explained what services the NCIHD (which includes an office in Grangeville) provides including the Women, Infant and Children nutrition program, AIDS and safe sex information, and immunizations.

Trustee Craig Spencer asked if the department had any plans to educate parents about the benefits of vaccinations “since there seem to be so many against it,” he said.

“When I was a kid we all went to the school gym for our sugar-cube polio vaccination, no exceptions,” Spender said. “This movement to not vaccinate scares me.”

Moehrle said this situation is not unique to Idaho County or even Idaho.

“We just have a stronger vocal group here than in other parts of the country,” she said.

Spencer stated he would like to see education that is factual so “people don’t believe the nonsense they read against immunizations on-line.”

The board will meet again Aug. 24, 12:30 p.m., Soltman Center.

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