The new addition to Wallowa Memorial Hospital’s clinic building is complete and open for business.

“We built it to improve people’s access to health care,” hospital CEO Larry Davy said. “The Affordable Care Act and our very liberal financial assistance policy, has allowed more and more people to access health care on a regular basis. That put quite a strain on our existing facilities, which were designed for the old ways of so many being uninsured.”

“We are doing so much more than we used to,” Davy said, “… managing chronic disease, providing mental health care and those types of things. We just ran out of room.”

The $1 million structure, completed in early December, added 10 patient rooms and additional office space. The new facilities will serve the needs of Winding Water’s Community Health Center and allow the hospital’s Mountain View Clinic to expand into a portion of the area formerly used by Winding Waters.

“Essentially,” said Nic Powers, CEO of Winding Waters, “we are both moving west.”

The additional space allows Winding Waters to add dental care to their repertoire, with one full-time dentist, and four part-time dentists who provide care.

“The dentists we have into the community all provide excellent care,” Powers said. “We are trying to help meet demands, and, with the part time dentists, also determine what the level of need for dentistry is here.”

The hospital’s Mountain View Clinic is also looking to expand its facilities in Joseph. They have acquired land at the intersection of Main Street and Daggett Street at the north end of town, and hope to build within the next year.

“The old building we are in doesn’t meet ADA requirements,” Davy said. “So we have bids coming in this Friday for building a new clinic in Joseph. One reason for planning a new building is to keep a little ahead of the changes in health care. And make sure the facilities here match those needs.”

But until the bids are in and the low bidders vetted, Davy and the hospital board will not know whether the new Joseph facility is within the approximately $2 million budget. The board will make a decision at the January board meeting.

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