Valley Family Heath

Valley Family Heath CEO Tim Heinze and Planning and Development Director Jesse Sandoval help Idaho Primary Care Association CEO Yvonne Ketchum-Ward and her team unload donated personal protective equipment on Friday, June 12.

PAYETTE — As health-care workers at health centers across Idaho continue to combat novel coronavirus COVID-19 on the front lines, the Idaho Primary Care Association has come through to support them with the help of the Oregon-based Cambia Health Foundation. The foundation created a $200,000 grant for the purchase of personal protective equipment by the Association. Benefiting locally is Valley Family Health Services.

At an unpacking event at its Payette clinic on Friday, Valley Family Health CEO Tim Heinze expressed gratitude for the donation of these supplies. Valley Family Health is one of 16 nonprofit health-care providers in Idaho to receive from these donations.

“They are constantly looking out for ways to support the community health centers in the state,” Heinze said.

Delivering the supplies to their clinic was a small team from the Idaho Primary Care Association, which in Payette was joined by CEO Yvonne Ketchum-Ward, who expressed excitement.

“We’ve been talking to a lot of people in Idaho, and Cambia was the one who really stepped up to make this particular project happen,” said Ketchum-Ward.

The Association also made deliveries to locations of each of the other providers.

Ketchum-Ward said the Cambia Foundation offered to chip in supplies in response to a conversation about the current situation.

“We’ve had a relationship with [Cambria] for about four or five years, so we talked to them about what the needs were and they stepped up,” she said.

In addition, the Idaho Chinese Organization has helped to chip in 20,000 medical gloves, 120 N95 masks, and from Taiwan a supply of 100,000 surgical masks.

But as Ketchum-Ward notes, there’s yet more need to fill.

“It doesn’t go as [far] as you would think; We’ve done a good job of trying to get as much … as we can. But things are at a high price right now, the supply and demand,” she noted, saying the ability to group purchase the equipment is what makes the difference for these providers.

Of the donated supplies, Valley Family Health received 250 gowns, 560 N95 masks, 10,000 surgical masks and 12,000 gloves. Valley Family Health said in a statement they anticipate the need for these supplies, as an increase in in-person preventive services is expected with Idaho entering stage four of its reopening plan.

“It’s really important to protect the safety of everyone, because as we know it’s hard to tell who’s got it and who doesn’t have it,” said Heinze. “We treat everybody as though they do.”

Especially as COVID-19 doesn’t affect all who are infected right away, Heinze noted.

As the pandemic continues, both CEOs remind the public that they and their teams are here to serve.

“The health centers are here to help everyone in the community; They always have and they always will,” said Ketchum-Ward.

“Do the best you can to be safe, to take care of yourself; I think it’s physically and mentally draining for all of us,” said Heinze. “Some of it’s just related to the change, but a lot of it’s related to the fear and concern for ourselves, for our children, for our loved ones. It really has been a strange time.”

Heinze also expressed his hope for this experience to be “once in a lifetime for all of us.”

Corey Evan is a reporter at the Independent-Enterprise and Argus Observer. He can be reached at (208) 642-5258 or by emailing coreye@argusobserver.com. To comment on this story, go to www.argusobserver.com.

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