In August of this year, Terry Reilly Health Services (TRHS) in Homedale had a campaign kickoff and celebration after being awarded $2 million to expand into a new integrated health center.
The award was based on determined need according to The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), which evaluates financial need for health facilities that offer COVID-19 testing, vaccines and other health care services. The ARPA gave funding to local programs, such as the Rural Housing Service and Community Facilities Program, to distribute up to $500 million in grant funding to rural health centers in need.
Tobin Dixon, the Western Idaho area director for rural development in the U.S. Department of Agriculture, said, “Health care facilities, like TRHS, have been challenged by immediate financial needs stemming from COVID-19 related expenses. Long-term access to — and availability of — rural health care services have been further hampered as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. In response to these challenges, this program offers applicable funding assistance and helped this community obtain the clinic that this small town deserves.”
This expansion project was chosen in an individual case-by-case application process and evaluation. Once need was identified by the TRHS board of directors, they acted as advocates for TRHS, acquired a lot behind the already existing two buildings and filed an application for assistance from ARPA and another financial assistance program.
For the last 40 years, TRHS has offered medical, behavioral and dental services to a rapidly growing Homedale community. Currently, these services are offered out of two buildings. Dixon commented, “Over the years, the medical and dental facilities have been minimally updated with help from the local community. Continued growth in the area has placed a burden on residents as they have to travel from building to building to receive services and wait times continue to increase. The new clinic will be built on current TRHS property, and will expand current services to include four medical exam rooms, a medical treatment room, four dental operatories, two behavioral offices and an on-site pharmacy.”
Heidi Hart, CEO of TRHS, spoke on the need for this investment in the Homedale community: “We know that limited access to affordable health care affects the overall well-being of our rural neighbors. We have long outgrown the capacity of our aged building in Homedale and are excited by this opportunity to build a new clinic with expanded services so we can continue meeting the growing needs of the Homedale area.”
The new facility will be 4,700 square feet and will allow more (if not all) of a patient’s health care needs to be met under a single roof. The building is currently planned to open in late fall of 2023. Additionally, the already existing staff of the previous two buildings will move into the new building and the team plans to expand as needs increase with the community. Recently, behavioral health specialists were hired to fulfill a local need as well as offer counseling classes in Owyhee County and the team expects to hire a pharmacist on site.
The project in total will cost about $2.6 million, according to Claudia Weathermon, director of community engagement for TRHS. $1 million of that is, of course, coming from the aforementioned ARPA grant and another million is coming from a Health Services and Resources Administration grant (HSRA). HRSA is a federal agency which offers funding to providers who regularly care for uninsured, isolated and/or medically vulnerable populations.
As for the remaining $600,000 in funding, Weathermon said, “We are currently conducting a capital campaign asking businesses, foundations and the public for the final funds needed to outfit the clinic.”
Weathermon also said the clinic’s Aug. 17 event to celebrate the awarded funding was “groundbreaking” and that the event garnered great attention from the local community as well as city leaders. The mayor of Homedale commented, saying, “The expansion will be of great value for the citizens of Homedale; both for accessibility and to assist in meeting all of their health care needs.”