Planned medical campus to provide more health care options in Pocatello, Chubbuck

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Those behind the development and construction of the Integrated Care Clinic in Idaho Falls recently met with members of the media at the construction site to talk about the facility that will provide coordinated care to better meet patient needs. Local physician, Fahim Rahim, pictured in the brown jacket, said Wednesday that a much larger medical campus with a similar focus will also be constructed in Chubbuck in the future. | EastIdahoNews.com file photo

CHUBBUCK — Plans are underway to develop a large medical campus that aims to bring more health care options to those living in Pocatello, Chubbuck and surrounding communities.

The medical campus, which will include multiple buildings, will be constructed on a 20-acre vacant lot in the Chubbuck area, said local physician and project organizer Dr. Fahim Rahim, but he has not released the exact location yet.

More details about the planned development will be released during a news conference that will take place at 4:30 p.m. Friday at Chubbuck City Hall, 5160 Yellowstone Avenue. Rahim and other physician partners, as well as Jake Erickson, the CEO of Bingham Healthcare, and Chubbuck Mayor Kevin England will be in attendance, according to a news release.

Rahim said the campus will offer some inpatient, outpatient and urgent care services and will be able to address the needs of those suffering from chronic diseases affecting the heart and kidneys. It will also offer orthopedic and primary care services among others.

Once the medical campus is constructed — they will likely break ground next spring — Rahim said there will be 30 to 35 doctors all working there. And they will be able to provide coordinated care to better meet patient needs.

It’s a concept that Rahim is pushing throughout the whole region.

He’s currently working with others to develop the Integrated Care Clinic, which will house Cardio Renal Centers of America and the Integrated Surgery and Vascular Center, in Idaho Falls.

“My vision is to continue to build places of healing where several physicians can work under one roof and provide coordinated and integrated care,” Rahim wrote in a recent Facebook post. “Currently health care is very disjointed and our patients have to travel all over town and still don’t get affordable integrated care in a timely manner.”

Both the Idaho Falls and Chubbuck developments will provide coordinated care to better meet patient needs, Rahim said; however, the medical campus in Chubbuck will be much larger.

Rahim says he’s passionate about bringing affordable, quality health care to eastern Idaho, and he thinks one way of doing that is to provide some friendly competition.

He noted that Bonneville County has more than one hospital and more than one insurance option, which he says has helped to drive down costs and improved the quality of health care in that area in recent years. He thinks Bannock County, which he says has one hospital and one insurance option, needs to make and is capable of supporting similar changes.

“The Pocatello/Chubbuck market needs more than one option,” he said.

Rahim hopes the planned medical campus will give Pocatello and Chubbuck residents, as well as local physicians, more choices in the future.

But Todd Blackinton, director of marketing and public relations at Portneuf Medical Center in Pocatello, says competition already exists in the area. He said there are independent doctors in town as well as Portneuf-employed physicians.

“Portneuf welcomes any effort to drive down prices and increase the quality of care not just in outpatient offices, but across the whole health care system, including hospital care,” he said. “This is why we pioneered the effort four years ago with the Portneuf Quality Alliance to align doctors, the hospital and insurance providers who are committed to high quality care and stable costs. This system has a proven track record of savings year after year. For example, Portneuf employees have not seen an increase in premiums since PQA began.”

The Portneuf Health Trust recently announced plans of its own to build a medical campus on 20 acres north of Pocatello. The development, part of the Northgate project, will be owned by the Portneuf Health Trust, but operated by the Portneuf Medical Center.

This article was originally published in the Idaho State Journal. It is used here with permission.

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