Part of Knudsen Boulevard was packed with people, cars and music on Friday as the city of Chubbuck broke ground on its new medical campus.
Brothers Nahim and Fahim Rahim wanted this to be more than just the traditional turning of dirt. They really wanted the community involved. Their goal was to make it less like a groundbreaking and more like a community block party.
There was live music, an honor song from the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes and food trucks.
Several community leaders spoke about the importance and benefit of the new medical campus to the region.
“If you look at your calendars, it will show there are 95 days until Christmas,” Chubbuck Mayor Kevin England said to start his speech. “But I’m here to tell you that’s not true. Christmas came today for the city of Chubbuck.”
“This is huge for Bannock County and for the city of Chubbuck to help them grow and as other major businesses look at relocating to this area, healthcare is a major issue they look at,” said Bannock County Commissioner Terrel Tovey.
The new campus is what the Rahim brothers call a one-stop shop. When finished, there will be a cardio-renal heart and kidney center, a dialysis center, extended urgent care, senior care, a women’s center, medical offices, and eventually, a hospital and ER.
“There’s just no way to put a quantifying number on how important this is to our community,” England said. “We’ve had some fantastic doctors and a few offices here in our community that have served us well but we’ve really never had a medical facility like this will be. So it’s definitely a game changer for the city of Chubbuck.”
“The whole idea of healthcare is it’s a local problem so it needs to have local solutions,” said Dr. Fahim Rahim, who is spearheading the project. “So when local community members, doctors, nurses, and patients, families and community members get together, we create local solutions. This is going to be an example to the rest of the u.s.”
Bingham Memorial Health is partnering with the Rahim brothers to make this project happen. The cardio-renal center will be an extension of BMH’s facilities and will allow them to branch out and reach patients in Pocatello, while also fulfilling other health needs in the community. Jake Erickson, CEO of Bingham Memorial Hospital and Healthcare, said this will help fill a void in the Pocatello-Chubbuck community.
“I think it’s always needed,” Erickson said. “Healthcare, if you look around the country, access to healthcare is one of the biggest issues, the biggest challenges. Idaho currently ranks 49th out of 50 states in access to primary care physicians per capita and so we feel there’s a lot of need still for health care services.”
Rahim said he hopes this center will bring in healthcare competition, which will lower healthcare costs, but help drive up the quality of care.
He said this center is also needed because patients need options. He said Portneuf Medical Center is a great facility and that it’s a remarkable level two trauma center but sometimes people need a different choice for what they’re facing.
“When you take a community care hospital and deliver it to a tertiary care hospital, with all the added overhead, the cost of simple care goes up,” Rahim described. “If a grandma needs to be treated for pneumonia, she gets admitted to a hospital for four days that is a tertiary care hospital, you’re going to see a $50,000 bill, versus when she gets treated at a community outpatient level. So that is the difference, we all got to do what we are best at, at the level where it needs to be delivered.”
Rahim said the project will happen in two phases. Phase one construction will start soon, by October, and should be done by 2020. Phase two will start once phase one is complete. The goal is to have the whole campus done within the next five years.