In January, 1986, Dirne Community Health Centers was incorporated as an Idaho 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation. Heritage Health, originally named “Dirne Community Health Clinic” was largely conceived through the pioneering efforts of one individual, Lidwina Dirne. Upon personally witnessing the devastating impact that inaccessibility to healthcare had on a single mother with disabilities who could not afford basic medical care for herself or her family, Lidwina mobilized a community-based effort to find solutions. The result was the start-up of a volunteer run, free-clinic that received total community backing, and operated two evenings per week. For fifteen years the clinic was supported by local donations, in-kind contributions and pro-bono legal services, and staffed by volunteer primary care providers. As the demand for services increased and exceeded the capacity of a part-time volunteer clinic, the need for expansion became a necessity.
In 2003, Dirne applied for and received federal funding from the Health and Resources Services Administration (HRSA) to become a federally qualified health center (FQHC). By February of 2004, the clinic opened its doors as a full-time community health center. During its first year, the health center provided services to 3,806 individuals. This number has continued to steadily increase each year, with 6,470 individuals served in 2007. Additional services have been continually added since the inception of the organization. In June, 2007, Dirne Health Centers was awarded a Healthcare for the Homeless expanded medical capacity grant to serve the homeless population in Kootenai County, further broadening the reach of its services and increasing access to healthcare.
Lidwina Dirne passed away in 2013 during the re-branding of Dirne. While she did not live long enough to see the launch of the new name, Heritage Health became an even more fitting name due to her influence on healthcare and our community. Lidwina Dirne left behind a wonderful heritage. Now it is our turn to provide you with excellent healthcare so that you can protect your heritage and those around you.