Wednesday, October 16, 2013

St. Luke’s christens new clinic

Mental-health facility is first of its kind in Blaine County

Express Staff Writer

Dr. Tim Stoddard cuts the ribbon on the new St. Luke’s mental-health clinic Friday afternoon in Hailey. Photo by Willy Cook

St. Luke’s Clinic in Hailey held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday to celebrate the opening of a new mental-health clinic, a facility the health provider says will provide critical services.
Erin Pfaeffle, manager of community health services, said there is a high level of interest in the facility.
“Today has been fantastic,” Pfaeffle said during the ceremony. “I think seeing all of these people is just a thrill, but what it really does is it represents the critical need we’ve filled, and the great community support we have. I’m more proud of this than anything else I’ve ever done at St. Luke’s.”
There were more than 40 people in attendance for the ceremony, which included remarks from hospital CEO Cody Langbehn praising the decision to build the facility and the work that went into it.
“This is the culmination of a lot of people’s work and passion,” Langbehn said. “St. Luke’s Wood River is happy to call this part of our mission because mental health is so key and important.”
According to Pfaeffle, nearly $1 million was spent on building, staffing, and outfitting the facility. She said the hospital’s foundation contributed $300,000 to build it. Construction on the facility began in late April and concluded in late August.
     One of the hospital’s newest hires is Tim Stoddard, who is the new psychiatrist and director of behavioral health services. Stoddard previously worked in Coeur d’Alene, and said he quickly identified with St. Luke’s enthusiasm for the new venture.

Seeing the interest, enthusiasm and support shows that as we respond to needs, the community comes along with us.”
Erin Pfaeffle
St. Luke’s Center for Community Health

“I think that they (St. Luke’s) were very motivated to get someone here, and it is apparent that there is a lot of community support,” Stoddard said. “At the same time, it’s also apparent there is a pretty significant need for these services.”
Stoddard said there will be a diverse range of services the clinic is capable of providing.
“We will be working with everyone from chronic and severe conditions to people that have more episodic and situational induced issues,” he said. “As far as access goes, our goal is to reach out and support those who have had difficulty accessing services in the past. St. Luke’s has been creative in finding financial resources, which is also a great help for us.”
Pfaeffle said the high level of interest in the services the clinic provides will allow the staff to determine how the mental-health needs of the community figure to change over time. She also said that as the clinic grows there will likely be another psychiatrist and nurse hired to complete the staff.
“Seeing the interest, enthusiasm and support shows that as we respond to needs, the community comes along with us,” she said. “It helps us understand what we need and design the work we need to do.”
Eric Avissar:

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