Back on her feet

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Amy, who suffered nerve damage from alcoholic neuropathy, said Heritage Health played a key role in her recovery.

Two years ago, alcoholism finally knocked Amy off her feet.

The Coeur d'Alene resident suffered from alcoholic neuropathy, a painful nerve condition in her feet and she was unable to walk.

After a brief stint in a local rehabilitation hospital, Amy could walk again. However, she still needed ongoing medical care and long-term counseling.

“I had nothing,” said Amy, who lives in Coeur d'Alene. “I didn't have any insurance. I didn't have any income. But I heard about Heritage Health and how they could help me. I am so glad I found them.”

Last year, Amy was one of 81 patients whose Heritage Health services were covered by the Maryellen Scholarship Fund, a program run by the Dirne Foundation. The Maryellen Scholarship Fund paid out about $24,500 for those patient expenses in 2018.

In addition, Heritage Health donated or heavily discounted another $2 million in services to 4,775 patients without insurance or limited income.

Amy, 46, believes Heritage Health and the Maryellen Scholarship Fund helped her immensely. She has hopes and dreams for the future and is charting each step of the way.

“I love my doctor,” she said. “She helped me a lot and I feel so much better.”

“I am in recovery. I have my own place and I have a job. I've always been an independent person and I am able to support myself without any help from my family.”

Her success story would have made Lidwin Dirne smile.

Lidwin Dirne was inspired to launch a volunteer clinic in 1985 after one of her neighbors, Maryellen, passed away from health issues. Maryellen, who was a single mother of four children, didn't have health insurance and she couldn't afford to go to the doctor.

“Maryellen died prematurely because she was unable to access health care,” said Linda Johann, a Heritage Health board member. “The Maryellen Scholarship Fund fills the gap for people who

have nothing. Lidwin would say, 'It's unacceptable for people to not get the care they need because they don't have the resources to pay for the visit.' The Dirne Foundation furthers our mission at Heritage Health.”

Heritage Health served 28,320 patients last year in Kootenai, Shoshone, and Benewah Counties.

“Providing high quality, affordable healthcare from the heart is our passion,” said CEO Mike Baker. “Heritage Health exists for the sole purpose of delivering a health care experience that provides hope, inspires change and extends the lives for our patients and our community,” said Baker.“Our amazing care teams deliver world- class health care utilizing a patient- directed, community-focused approach.”

“Our focus for 2019 is 'Bee your best self' in everything you do,” said Baker. “Please join us for our annual update, where we will share our impact on this community, what our goals are for the future, and how you can be a part of it all.”

The “Bee your best self” breakfast is scheduled for Thursday, March 14, at the Hagadone Event Center. To attend, email Pam Houser at

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