Public Radio: Coeur d'Alene clinic serves region
"If you drive through Plummer, Idaho too fast, you can blink and miss it. The biggest thing here is the Benewah Medical Center. Executive Director Ginger Carpenter's office there is adorned with photos of the facility's humble beginnings.

Ginger Carpenter: "In 1987, the clinic was this building, it was a condemned building...and a doctor came once a week for an afternoon and saw patients, and a dentist came once a month."

Today, the Benewah Medical Center is a multi-building complex. Its staff includes eight doctors and three dentists. It also has a mental health program, diabetes unit and fitness center. It's the only medical service on the Coeur d'Alene Indian reservation, which has suffered from chronic poverty for generations.

Ernie Stensgar: "We got tired of not having quality healthcare."

Ernie Stensgar is Vice Chairman of the Coeur d'Alene Tribe. About 20 years ago, as Chairman, he headed-up the tribe's efforts to build its own clinic.

Ernie Stensgar: "As we thought through this and looked at money that was available, which was hardly any we also discovered that people living with us, and amongst us, were suffering from the same inadequate healthcare that we were, long distances to travel, poor healthcare in general, and so we, why don't we collaborate?""

Get the Story:
Tribal Health Clinic Reaches Out (KPLU 5/13)