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New Clinic Brings the Best of Both Worlds to Bonners Ferry

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February 27, 2002


When you review the annual listings developed by U.S. News and World Report for the top 100 places to live in the United States, you begin to see a distinct pattern of what people value in selecting a community. Some of the attributes people are searching for are safe communities, reduced traffic congestion, a sense of community spirit or pride, quality education and health care options. Expanding a community’s health care options brings a myriad of positive, secondary benefits to a community. Additional health care options mean having more professional health care providers. More health care providers allows better collaborative efforts in solving health care issues. It means the consumer is empowered to seek a second opinion without having to travel or waste a great deal of time.

Expanding the number of health care options brings new jobs that generally pay better than retail or tourism and the individuals that fill those jobs have more education and training. Providing a space in one’s community for more educated and trained professionals aids in the building of community coalitions. The coalitions raise the expectations of county and city politicians, school district administrators and other institutions to operate at peak performance, when the community involves itself in their goal setting and visioning processes. It may seem euphoric to picture this type of positive network and infrastructure growth, but this is exactly how it happens.

The U.S. News and World Report rankings do not just list the top cities to live in; categorically areas are organized by population density. And communities don’t just explode with health options. The options come from the steady investment of health professionals, moving one small step at a time. Certainly Spokane and Kootenai County have both shown this pattern, resulting in a continual increase in their ability to attract health specialists from around the country. And Bonners Ferry has just taken a step in the direction of increased health care options with the opening of a practice provided by Jacquelyn Kuhns, PA-C, and Dr. David Kuhns, right on Main street. Jacquelyn and David Kuhns are not newcomers to Bonners Ferry. They have both served the people of this community for many years through the Urgent Care Facility and through the Bonners Ferry Hospital. This makes the opening of their practice even more special, as the community knows and trusts them as one of their own. Jacquelyn Kuhns is a Certified Physician’s Assistant (PA-C) and David Kuhns is an M.D. board certified in emergency medicine.

If you ask someone who already has a reputation for hard work and dedication why they chose to open their own business, so they can work even harder for less money, put in longer hours and have less benefits (my personal editorial as a small business owner), you know almost instinctively that a drive to service and help people is a core component of the business owner’s personality. Such is the case with the Kuhns. Jacquelyn desired to expand her personal focus on offering women’s health care. Positive feedback and encouragement from the community provided the emotional momentum necessary to develop a plan. Dr. Don Moore, who provides chiropractic services from his Main street office, was planning an office expansion. The timing was perfect and the collaborative presentation effort was birthed. In mid-February the office was opened in the rear section of the building.

Bringing in Dr. David Kuhns to the practice provided Jacquelyn with a professional ally with more than ten years of emergency medicine experience.

The Kuhns practice is fairly inclusive, with services ranging from women’s health care, pediatric consultations, succoring, or coping with broken bones and cast settings. The relationship with Dr. Moore’s chiropractic service is complimentary, so patients get the best of both worlds, depending upon the problem and diagnosis. The addition of Ann Tyree, a Certified Nursing Practitioner (NP-C), who recently joined the practice and has an oncology background, creates a strong team of professionals with a positive attitude. There are three other staff professionals as well.

The team hopes to shortly expand their oncology offerings to patients coping with the complications of chemotherapy. They will not be in a position to offer chemotherapy, but often patients need help dealing with the repercussions of the therapy, and driving two hours to Coeur d’Alene can be setback if you have to continually pull over to empty the contents of your stomach. If you're from Bonners Ferry it can be a two hour drive, but if you're from Montana, then a patient is driving even further.

People should feel free to stop by the office and say hello. The address is 6843 Main street and the phone number is 208-267-1831. The office hours are currently Monday through Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  But being "one of your own," the hours are subject to change to better accommodate the patient, based in part on your feedback. The community has been empowered in a quiet way that will not receive great fanfare or accolades. But no one knows as well as a parent with a sick child, or a person feeling sick, how important it is to have expanded health care options. The expansion of women’s health care choices in a rural community that is steadily growing in population every year (Boundary being the ninth fastest growing county in Idaho) is also cause for real celebration. But then again, I’m proudly biased that way.

 

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Carol Curtis

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