In January 1986, the volunteer clinic opened under the name Lake City Health and then changed its name to Dirne Community Health Centers, which was incorporated as an Idaho 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation. Heritage Health, originally named “Dirne Community Health Clinic” was largely conceived through the pioneering efforts of one individual, Lidwina Dirne. Upon personally witnessing the devastating impact that inaccessibility to healthcare had on a single mother with disabilities who could not afford basic medical care for herself or her family, Lidwina mobilized a community-based effort to find solutions. The result was the start-up of a volunteer-run, free clinic that received total community backing, and operated two evenings per week. For fifteen years the clinic was supported by local donations, in-kind contributions, pro-bono legal services, and was staffed by volunteer primary care providers. As the demand for services increased and exceeded the capacity of a part-time volunteer clinic, the need for expansion became a necessity.
In 2003, Dirne applied for and received federal funding from the Health and Resources Services Administration (HRSA) to become a federally qualified health center (FQHC). By February of 2004, the clinic opened its doors as a full-time community health center. During its first year, the health center provided services to 3,806 individuals. A wide range of services (medical, dental, behavioral health) have been added since the inception of the organization. In 2018, we served nearly 30,000 patients across North Idaho.