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Family Health Services, a nonprofit funded in 1982 in Burley, Idaho, will open a new office at 602 N. Main St. in Bellevue this winter. The facility will provide deeply discounted medical, dental, and behavioral health services for qualifying residents.

The new facility will provide a close-to-home option for Wood River Valley residents who have been traveling to Fairfield and Twin Falls for FHS services. It will be staffed with 19 medical care providers and support staff.

The nonprofit serves those on Medicaid, Medicare and the uninsured. A sampling of costs: 50%-80% off on dental services, 60%-90% off medical procedures, significant discounts on pharmaceutical medications and free family-planning services for those living under the federal poverty level.

Family Health Services is governed by a volunteer board comprising a majority of health care center patients representing the population served.

The Bellevue facility will provide a sliding scale of discounts for families earning 200% or less of the poverty threshold on the federal poverty scale. The poverty threshold is $25,465 for a family of four with two children, and $17,308 for a single parent of one child.

Around 7.2% of Blaine County residents live in poverty, according to 2019 data from the U.S. Census Bureau—that’s roughly one in every 14 people.

The FHS facility will be open to anyone in the area who qualifies for its services. In 2020, more than 3,410 people from Blaine County and Stanley received services from FHS. Nearly all were on Medicaid, Medicare or were uninsured.

News of the new facility was greeted with enthusiasm and gratitude by the Bellevue City Council Monday.

“’I am very excited about this,” Mayor Ned Burns said. “You will fill an important niche.”

FHS CEO Aaron Houston presented plans for the facility at a City Council meeting Monday. He thanked donors Conrad Construction, Dr. Grant Stevens, and others for making the office possible, including a significant grant of about $1 million from the St. Luke’s Wood River Foundation.

“Without them, we wouldn’t be able to come in here at all,” Houston said.

Houston said the facility will be able to provide cancer screenings and dental cleanings and remain focused on the “low-income and underserved” members of the community. He said some staff hires have been completed, but that the office is still looking for a behavioral health therapist, who must have a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) degree.

“There is a lack of counsellors out there,” Houston said. “Sometimes working with low-income people is considered less desirable.”

The Main Street building will be remodeled this fall, with an opening date planned for January or February.

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