With health care at the forefront of American politics, several eastern Idaho doctors are collaborating on a one-stop-shop medical facility in hopes of lowering costs and providing better care.
In financial and supportive conjunction with Bingham Memorial Hospital, interventional cardiologist Dr. Jack Lassatter, nephrologists Dr. Fahim Rahim and Dr. Naeem Rahim, and orthopedic and spinal surgeon Dr. Rob Johnson have combined efforts to invest time and money into the Cardio Renal Centers of America in Idaho Falls.
The facility is modeled after the Mayo Clinic and other single-service medical treatment facilities, and will be a one-of-a-kind addition to the Idaho medical community.
The 25,000-square-foot Cardio Renal Centers of America office in Idaho Falls is scheduled to be completed by Oct. 1. A Bingham Memorial Hospital news release said the facility is expected to include physician offices for outpatient clinic visits for cardiology, nephrology, interventional radiology and interventional pain management, along with offering peritoneal dialysis.
This ambitious undertaking has been in the works for years, with the goal of providing more convenient health care services to the region.
“Dr. (Fahim) Rahim and I started a conversation about five years ago of what we could do to, instead of segregating medicine into all of these sub-specialties, to integrate the care,” Lassatter said. “When doctors talk, patients benefit. And we want to take the humanitarian side of medicine into the forefront of taking care of patients.”
The facility will have an estimated cost of $15 million.
The Cardio Renal Centers of America facility off of East Sunnyside Road in Idaho Falls will provide residents with a number of medical specialists in one location. The combined efforts can also work as a cost-cutting incentive for patients, Dr. Naeem Rahim said.
“I often say that we pay Four Seasons money and get Motel 6 service in health care,” Naeem said. “It’s time that we have Motel 6 kind of money for Four Seasons service, because it doesn’t take much to do it.”
The new medical facility will make the coordination of care and service more integrated for the patient, without the confusing back and forth between various offices and locations.
“We feel that, with this model we can not only save the community money, but improve the quality and value of what we’re offering the patients by decreasing the amount of visits they have to make,” Lassatter said.
The convenience and coordination patients will receive also will come at a cheaper cost, according to Dr. Naeem Rahim.
“Two things are very critical in health care: cost and quality,” Dr. Naeem Rahim said. “You cannot control cost if your cost is exposed to a multitude of fronts. If my patient ends up in the hospital and gets a $6,600 colonoscopy when they can get a $1,200 colonoscopy here, that’s one difference.”
“The second is quality, which comes from the coordination of physicians and interacting with each other.”
The new health center will provide eastern Idaho residents with a more streamlined health care system, Dr. Fahim Rahim said.
“What you’re really going to be seeing, and what we’re building, is the Mayo Clinic of eastern Idaho,” he said. “When you walk into the hospital, you see very integrated care. (Every doctor) delivers care in a very coordinated and integrated manner.”
The clinic’s focus is to help patients avoid needless “running around,” according to Fahim. Instead of making appointments with one specialist after another, and taking weeks to ultimately get the care needed, the doctors involved with the Cardio Renal Centers of America hope that everything a patient might need can be taken care of in one location.
“Why is (health care) so disintegrated?” Dr. Fahim Rahim asked. “Why does my 80-year-old grandfather have to go to this part of town to meet this doctor, then go to this part of town for this doctor, then somewhere for labs and go somewhere for pharmacy? And nobody talks to each other. Why does it take six months to take care of a simple problem?”
The center’s specialists “will be able to provide care in a coordinated manner,” Dr. Fahim Rahim said. The doctors involved with the project hope this system will not only ease efforts on their end, but relieve stress and inconvenience to patients.
“Health care is changing quickly, and we have to show quality and outcomes,” Dr. Fahim Rahim said.
Reporter Marc Basham can be reached at 208-542-6763