Treatment for the whole person—that’s the mission of Panhandle Health District, which provides medical care for patients throughout North Idaho.
“When people think of the clinic at Panhandle Health, they typically think family planning, STDs and immunizations,” said Clinical Services Nurse Manager Kristina Meyer.
In addition to these popular services, Panhandle Health District offers many more non-emergency services at clinics located in Hayden, Sandpoint, Kellogg, St. Maries and Bonners Ferry.
“A big part of what we do is patient education,” Meyer said. “We’re not just placing them on a medication and that’s it.”
Meyer said the providers at Panhandle Health are committed to helping patients learn about other ways they can manage certain conditions, through diet or other lifestyle changes.
This is true for blood pressure management, as well as for other conditions like depression and anxiety.
“PHD uses standardized screening tools to identify patients at risk for depression and anxiety,” Meyer said. “Through this process, our providers are able to raise awareness to the patient, and as needed, educate and treat them.”
Panhandle Health offers immunizations for uninsured adult patients. The vaccine is free and the patient only pays the administration fee. Patients can also undergo titers testing to determine immunity to vaccine-preventable diseases like chicken pox, hepatitis B, measles, mumps and rubella.
“These are especially important for nursing students and health care workers,” Meyer said.
Other clinical services include colposcopies (which occur after a patient has an abnormal Pap smear) and skin biopsies. In fact, Meyer said, Panhandle Health providers can remove moles and send them to a lab for further testing, as well as skin tags that are only a cosmetic concern.
Panhandle Health providers also treat skin rashes and minor infections, including mono, strep and the flu.
Sports physicals and wellness exams are available, as well.
“People are often surprised that we do all these other services,” Meyer said. “It’s a lower-cost way for people who don’t have insurance to get care, instead of utilizing an urgent care or the emergency room.”
While Panhandle Health sees many patients without insurance, Meyer said, patients who do have medical insurance are also welcome to utilize their services. Panhandle Health offers a sliding fee scale for those who qualify; patients who plan to request a discounted bill should bring proof of income.
Patients can schedule an appointment by calling one of Panhandle
Health District’s five clinics or make an appointment online. Additionally, patients can use the “Ask a Nurse” web form to ask questions without picking up the phone.