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EDITORIAL: Three big reasons for health, happiness

| March 15, 2024 1:00 AM

You already know how lucky you are to call Kootenai County home.

But if you’re blessed with extraordinary health, one of the community’s greatest assets might not yet have fully dawned on you.

In baseball parlance, Kootenai County residents have won the medical Triple Crown. Each on its own, Kootenai Health, Northwest Specialty Hospital and Heritage Health offers tremendous quality. But together you’ve got a World Series winner.

Speaking recently at a Coeur d’Alene Regional Chamber gathering, Heritage Health CEO Mike Baker noted that just because Heritage was created as a nonprofit to treat low-income residents doesn’t mean the organization delivers lesser medical, dental and behavioral health care.

And true enough, the 25,000 or so residents whom Heritage assists every year would attest that their health-care provider is exceptional.

“We hired these incredible people who care about you… working their butts off trying to improve life for everybody around them,” Baker told the Chamber crowd.

Not-for-profit Kootenai Health carries by far the largest medical footprint in all of North Idaho while maintaining extraordinary patient care. With more than 4,000 employees, KH is also the region’s single most powerful economic engine.

Northwest Specialty is privately owned. It, too, delivers superb medical care at competitive rates. Last August, Northwest Specialty received a 5-star overall rating from Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Based in Post Falls, NWSH also has a community-centric mission that goes far beyond medical care.

Does any other county our size offer outstanding health care services from large organizations that include a nonprofit, a private for-profit and a not-for-profit provider? If so, do they work together as seamlessly as Heritage, Kootenai and Northwest Specialty do, for the benefit of all?

As retirees continue to flock here and a large percentage of the population hovers around the poverty level, the need for quality, accessible medical care will only continue to grow. Thanks to our Triple Crown, their needs will all be met.