Heritage Health receives $40K donation from Delta Dental of Idaho

Heritage Health received a $40,000 donation from Delta Dental of Idaho to purchase new equipment for its clinic in Coeur d’Alene.
The donation allowed Heritage Health to replace aging and broken-down equipment and to help secure state-of-the-art technology, said Dr. Hatta Clark, lead dentist at Heritage Health.
“We are extremely grateful for this generous donation,” said Clark. “We will be able to see more patients and deliver a higher level of care. It truly is a wonderful situation for us.”
“As oral health affects overall health, we believe in the power of oral health to enrich lives,” said Greg Donaca, President and CEO of Delta Dental of Idaho. “Partnering with like-minded health organizations such as Heritage Health helps improve the health and strength of our communities. Delta Dental of Idaho is proud to be part of that community support and the improved oral health – and overall health – of all Idahoans.”
Heritage Health Dentist Devin Rourke played a key role in securing the donation from Delta Dental.
“I was having a conversation with them about our needs and challenges with equipment,” said Rourke. “They told me to come up with a “wish list” and I did. I was happily surprised they came through with the money to make it happen.”
Heritage Health purchased a laundry list of dental equipment, including a patient chair, an overhead light, and improved radiology equipment. The previous dental chair was nearly 20 years old and not functioning properly.
In addition, the dental department added four intraoral cameras that will give the dentist the ability to peer into patient’s mouths. Those images then can be displayed on a large computer monitor that the patient can see.
“It’s an educational tool that allows us to communicate better with our patients and other providers,” said Clark. “I am very excited to use them.”

Heritage Health welcomes new Chief Operations Officer

Eddie Larsen, COOHeritage Health has hired Eddie Larsen to be its new Chief Operations Officer, who brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the organization. Larsen previously worked as a Chief Operating Officer for Aviva Health in Roseburg, Ore. He also has experience working in information technology for health care organizations. “I am looking forward to getting to know everyone,” said Larsen. “I have appreciated the warm and kind welcome.”

Eddie says he believes in balancing work with fun and laughter. “I don’t want work to be a four-letter word,” he said. “I believe in empowering people. I am not a micromanager. I want to help people grow to be the next generation of leaders at Heritage Health.” He said collaboration and teamwork are core principles and that he looks forward to “contributing” to making Heritage Health a stronger organization. Larsen is currently pursuing a doctorate in Business Administration from William Howard Taft University. He earned a Master of Business Administration from California Coast University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Management Information Systems from the University of Phoenix.

Eddie has a 16-year-old daughter, and he loves the outdoors, camping, hiking, and reading.


Johnson+Johnson COVID-19 Vaccination Paused

The Johnson and Johnson (Janssen) COVID-19 vaccination has been paused for distribution and administration. This is due to an abundance of caution as 6 cases of rare blood clots have been reported. So far, over 7 million doses have been administered nationwide, making this a rare event.  The CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices will be meeting today and this week to evaluate these cases and ensure the vaccine continues to be safe.

Heritage Health has not received or administered the Johnson and Johnson vaccine in its operations in Kootenai County or Shoshone County. Patients and community members who have received COVID vaccination with Heritage Health have received either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccination thus far.

If you have received any COVID vaccination and feel you have had an adverse reaction, contact your Primary Care Provider or the vaccine provider at any time after vaccination.

Peter Purrington, MD, MBA, CPE, CHCQM

Chief Clinical Officer

Heritage Health’s Vaccination Efforts

Heritage Health is offering the coronavirus vaccine to our patients who are 65 years and over at our clinics in Coeur d’Alene, Post Falls, Rathdrum, and Kellogg. The Kellogg clinic is offering drive-through vaccinations. Call (208) 620-5250 to get on the vaccine waiting list.

Masks Required for Entry at Heritage Health

Masks Required at Heritage Health

Heritage Health is requiring its patients to wear a mask or a face covering to their medical, dental, Family Support Services, and Restored Paths appointments.

This new requirement is to help reduce the spread of the coronavirus, following an influx of new cases across the region, said Dr. Peter Purrington, Heritage Health’s Chief Clinical Officer. “The surge of COVID-19 cases here has prompted this step,” said Dr. Purrington. “If a person doesn’t feel comfortable wearing a mask or they’re not able to wear a mask, we have telehealth appointments available for them.”

Telehealth allows a patient to receive care via the phone, handheld device, or personal computer. Cloth face coverings are most likely to reduce the spread of COVID-19 when they are widely used by people in public settings. The Centers for Disease Control recommend wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies) especially in areas of significant community-based transmission. The most important part about wearing a mask or a face covering is to cover the nose and mouth, and there is no need for extra filtration either.

All Heritage Health employees are wearing masks and exam rooms are thoroughly cleaned and sanitized between each appointment. “We’re taking every step to protect the community,” said Purrington. “Together, we will get through this public health crisis.”

Mobile Clinic shutdown

Heritage Health’s mobile clinic is being temporarily shut down due to the increase of COVID-19 cases in Kootenai County.

The mobile clinic serves the county’s most vulnerable and at-risk populations. Patients can still be seen at Heritage Health’s Street Medicine building at 109 E. Harrison Ave. in Coeur d’Alene or they can be seen via a telehealth appointment by calling (208) 208-292-0303

Idaho Primary Care Deliver 3

Idaho’s Health Centers receive COVID-19 grant for Personal Protective Equipment

Funds will supply health centers, including Heritage Health, with personal protective equipment for frontline staff

An important truckload of personal protective equipment arrived at Heritage Health Wednesday afternoon.

The special delivery was made possible by the Idaho Primary Care Association thanks to a $200,000 grant from the Cambia Health Foundation.

“We are grateful to the Cambia Health Foundation and the Idaho Primary Care Association for this lifesaving gift,” said Mike Baker, Heritage Health CEO. “Unfortunately, the battle against COVID-19 isn’t over yet and this personal protective equipment is in short supply across the country.”

Cambia Health Foundation awarded the grant for $200,000 to the Idaho Primary Care Association (IPCA) as part of the Community Health Center Crisis Response and Recovery Initiative. IPCA received a donation of 20,000 medical gloves and 120 N95 masks from the Idaho Chinese Organization (ICO) and 100,000 surgical masks.

The IPCA, the association group for Idaho’s health centers, will support all 14 health centers in 52 communities across the state by delivering the PPE provided by Cambia Health Foundation. The grant facilitation from the IPCA will help meet the immediate recovery needs of those most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Community health centers have a vital role in the fight against COVID-19,” said Yvonne Ketchum-Ward, CEO of the Idaho Primary Care Association. “Health Centers serve 1 out of 9 Idahoans, both in the rural and urban centers of the state. The funding to the health centers will protect caregivers and their patients as they reach out to populations who may otherwise go without care.”

The IPCA will be delivering the PPE to all Idaho’s health center sites to raise awareness of the role health centers have in the fight against COVID- 19 and the importance of protecting the health center frontline staff. 

“Community Health Centers accept all patients; they always have and always will,” said Ketchum-Ward. “They have a long-standing history of creating social and physical environments that promote good health for everyone. By protecting our health center heroes during this time, we can support their mission of keeping Idaho’s communities safe.” 

To learn more about the PPE delivery that will take place across Idaho visit www.healthcenterheroes.com.

The Cambia Health Foundation’s $200,000 award to Idaho’s Health Centers is part of a larger $3 million investment to meet critical and emerging needs fueled by COVID-19. Building on an existing commitment of $300,000 into shared COVID-19 Emergency Relief Funds, the Foundation’s recent grants will infuse capital into four community health associations that support the work of Community Health Centers across ID, OR, UT and WA. The new funding also supports the development of tools and resources for health care providers on the frontlines of the pandemic.

Idaho Primary Care Association (IPCA) has been the leading state advocate for community-based healthcare programs since 1982. The association plays a vital role in educating federal and state policymakers about issues relating to healthcare and the role of community health centers. IPCA provides training and technical assistance to Idaho’s health centers in the areas of health center operations, quality improvement, outreach and enrollment, workforce development, and network management. http://www.idahopca.org/ 

Heritage Health announces new leadership roles for Purrington, Rehil-Crest

Dr. Peter Purrington has been appointed as the Chief Clinical Officer for Heritage Health.

Purrington has served as Heritage Health’s Chief Medical Officer since 2018. In this new role, Dr. Purrington, will take a broader view of the organization, leading and directing clinical care across medical, dental, behavioral health, and addiction service lines.

“Dr. Purrington is a proven strategic leader for Heritage Health,” said CEO Mike Baker.  “We’ve grown from a humble volunteer clinic into a professionally managed healthcare organization. His new role will be essential to meeting the needs of the community into the future.”

Dr. Purrington will focus on quality and safety initiatives, including the transition to value-based care and building business intelligence solutions that will facilitate and support clinical care.

“I am excited about my new role with Heritage Health,” said Purrington. “My focus is about improving our care for patients and making sure our staff is functioning at a high level to meet those needs.”

Dr. Purrington earned his medical degree from George Washington University and is board-certified in Family Medicine and Healthcare Quality Management. He has also earned a Masters in Business Administration through the University of Maryland.

In addition, Anthony Rehil-Crest, MD, MPH has been named the Vice President of Medical Services.

Dr. Rehil-Crest will be responsible for guiding and directing clinical care in Heritage Health’s four medical offices, supporting over 45 providers in primary care, psychiatry, and Post-acute care.

“Since I started as a medical provider with Heritage Health over 5 years ago, I have been amazed at how quickly we have become such a large and important part of the medical community in Northern Idaho,” said Rehil-Crest. “I’m excited to be part of the team that leads our talented group of medical providers. I hope to continue to prepare providers for future challenges so that they can focus on the care of their patients and families. I’m looking forward to watching Heritage Health continue to grow and continue to be the clinic that our community looks to for compassionate and quality care.”

He will continue seeing his current patients in the main Coeur d’Alene office.

“Dr. Rehil-Crest is beloved by his patients and known for his compassionate care,” said Dr. Peter Purrington, Chief Clinical Officer. “He has been a role model for our providers. We’re excited to expand his leadership to our other clinics.”

Rehil-Crest is a graduate of New York Medical College and earned his Masters in Public Health through the University of Washington.  He completed his residency at the University of Utah Hospital and Clinics. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and has been with Heritage Health as the Associate Medical Director of the Coeur d’Alene office since 2014. 

Sobering Realities

Al Mahoney’s life could be a novel someday.

Al’s story is one of youthful exuberance, long-term homelessness, drunken violence, near-death experiences, and ultimately redemption. By his own account, he’s lucky to be alive.

“Al is an exception to the rule,” says Two Feathers, a community outreach worker with Heritage Health. “At first, it was how many days can you be sober, then weeks and then months. We made sure to contact and support him on a daily basis. As time went by, he didn’t need as much from us. Then we started helping him with his life skills.”

For nearly 40 years alcohol dominated this man’s life. Eventually, he decided to confront alcoholism and start a new life of sobriety.

“The credit goes to Two Feathers and TJ Byrne,” says Al. “They saved my life. All of the people at Heritage Health really care.”

Heritage Health’s Street Medicine program looked after Al. Two Feathers and Byrne, a Physician Assistant, helped him stop drinking, making sure his medical and emotional needs were being met on a daily basis.

The details of Al’s life are still a little foggy. The 56-year-old Coeur d’Alene man has been battling alcoholism with repeated stints in rehabilitation centers across the country.

None of his recovery efforts or treatments worked for the fiercely independent man.

“Once I got out of rehab in Florida and within hours I was drinking again,” he says. “I couldn’t stop.”

Al is a survivor.

He was shot in the head, but he doesn’t remember why.

He points to a metal rod in his leg which had to be inserted after a car ran him over. He has been to prison too. He spent 27 months in an Iowa prison after clobbering a college student over the head with a chair during a poker game.

He’s been arrested countless times.

The common dominator in those situations has always been alcohol.

“At first, I was young and adventurous,” he says. “I just grew tired of my life. I wanted something better for myself.”

Heritage Health provided the resources to ensure he could achieve his goals – even if that meant giving him a ride to see a counselor or just helping him with day-to-day struggles.

“Heritage Health was there for me,” says Al. “They went beyond just doing their jobs. They saved my life. I am so much better off today than I was.”

Despite having long-term health issues, Al is optimistic about the future. He’s working as a janitor at a local business. He is also off the streets.

“Things are going great,” says Al. “I feel great. I am moving into a new apartment. It’s been six months since I have had a drink. That has been hard. It’s a fight for sure, but I know I can do it.”