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Pediatric clinic opening new eastern Idaho location this fall

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POCATELLO – A local pediatric clinic is opening its first Pocatello location this fall.

Dr. Aaron Gardner with Just 4 Kids Urgent Care tells the Pocatello clinic will open at the end of September in the building formerly occupied by Black Bear Diner at 190 Bullock Street.

“We’re really enjoying what we’re doing. We’re having a good time working together. We like the team we’ve built and we feel like it’s a good thing … and we want to do more of it,” Gardner says.

Renovations are currently underway.

Business growth in the Pocatello/Chubbuck area, including the construction of the Northgate Interchange, is what prompted opening a clinic in the Gate City, Gardner says. The new clinic will be located in close proximity to the interchange.

Though there are a variety of medical providers in Pocatello already, Gardner feels Just 4 Kids will fill a particular niche in the marketplace.

“We think we can help in that after-hours piece and help keep kids out of the emergency department when they don’t need to be in the emergency department. We’re excited and we think it’s going to be fun,” Gardner explains.

Gardner says he also likes the accessibility and convenience of this particular location.

“It’s right by the Walmart, it’s visible from the highway. So if you’re coming from Inkom, McCammon or some place a little farther away, it’s (easy to find) in a well-trafficked retail area,” he says.

At 5,000-square-feet, the new clinic offers a larger space than the Idaho Falls location and will have the exact same structure and business model.

just 4 kids building
Just 4 Kids is moving into the old Black Bear Diner in Pocatello. | Courtesy Aaron Gardner

Just 4 Kids first opened at 3320 South 25th East in Idaho Falls in March 2018. The entire business model was designed with kids in mind.

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Some of the methods used in catering to kids include using compressed gas to inject a numbing medication through the skin instead of giving a shot with a needle. Staff members can also give a child a lollipop with numbing medication if there is a mouth-related condition.

The waiting room has a digitally projected soccer game on the floor. The game responds to the movement of the child’s feet.

There is also a remote-controlled Jeep that kids can ride in from the front of the clinic to the patient rooms. An electronic system allows parents to hop online and save their spot in line. When you walk in the door, your name appears on the board that shows where you are in the cue. If it’s busy, you know before you get there.

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Less than a year after its launch in Idaho Falls, the clinic partnered with Primary Children’s Hospital to add more specialized care for patients. It expanded its services again earlier this year with the state’s first pediatric clinic providing in-home and hospice care. It’s at 2431 Jafer Court now but Gardner and his team are planning to move into a larger space soon.

RELATED | The state’s first pediatric clinic providing in-home and hospice care just opened in eastern Idaho

“We anticipate more growth in the region. We’ll follow the urgent care (in Pocatello) with the home health and hospice as well. That will happen several months after … once we get the urgent care up and running. That gives us a little more time to get our feet under us,” says Gardner. “Probably by the end of the year.”

Coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic, Gardner says the demand for healthcare is increasing and following an unusual trend this year. The typical cases that have historically reached their peak in January or February are just now rearing their head in eastern Idaho.

“January (had) unseasonably lower patient volumes and it’s increased month over month, steadily, until now,” he says. “I can’t give any solid explanation for it. RSV, which we saw none of in January, reared its head in the southern part of the United States a couple of months ago in Florida. It’s made its way across the south into the midwest now, so I expect we will start to see an increase in RSV (locally) in the next month or two.”

Gardner says he’s excited for the opening of this new clinic and to work with new patients in eastern Idaho. Beyond that, he says he’s looking forward to being part of the community.

“We really like being part of the community and being involved in the schools and humanitarian projects and things like that to really dig in and be part of social events,” he says.

Just 4 Kids in Pocatello will be open 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week.