Heritage Health was largely conceived through Lidwin Dirne's pioneering efforts and sheer determination.
Lidwin's neighbor, Mary Ellen, a single mother living with disabilities, couldn't afford basic, preventative healthcare. After Mary Ellen's death, Lidwin was outraged and she decided this injustice should never happen again.
Lidwin mobilized the community and dedicated her life to providing health care to those who couldn't afford it. In 1985, Lake City Health Care opened its doors as a volunteer-run, free clinic and operated two evenings per week. The clinic was supported by local donations, in-kind
contributions, pro-bono legal services, and volunteer primary care providers.
Patients lined up around the block to be seen as the demand for services skyrocketed. Soon demand far exceeded the part-time volunteer clinic's capacity and an expansion became necessary. In 1999, the clinic was renamed the Dirne Community Health Center in honor of Lidwin Dirne.
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 2004, the clinic opened its doors as a full-time community health center.
This change allowed for new service lines to be added and more patients to be seen regardless of their ability to pay.
The Dirne Community Health Center became Heritage Health in 2013. Lidwin's legacy lives on as we continue to serve nearly 30,000 patients across North Idaho.