A Lack Of Affordable Health Care In The Lewis Clark Valley And On The Palouse

For those seeking routine health care services in the Palouse and Lewis Clark Valley, affording those services is often out of reach.

A needs assessment by the Innovia foundation and Lewis Clark Valley Healthcare Foundation found that for many residents, routine health care is unaffordable.

The study surveyed residents in Latah County, North Central Idaho, Nez Perce County and Southeast Washington. Of respondents, 40% indicated a need for affordable dental care, and 36% for more affordable health care overall.

Limited access to care has big health impacts, says Mason Burley, the director of Research and Community Impact for Innovia. When people postpone care, it often costs more later. “That kind of is a good example of timed economic insecurity, if you put off dental care, if you don’t have benefits that cover dental care, if you have a dental emergency, you know, that’s going to be a large cost. That was one thing that really stood out.”

In Whitman county, twenty-four percent of those respondents said they had postponed dental care, and nineteen percent had postponed medical care, due to cost.

This story is part of a series by NWPB exploring health care challenges in our region.