Wind River Community Health Care’s Expansion Celebrated Friday

Northern Arapaho Business Council Chairman Lee Spoonhunter cut the ceremonial red ribbon at the unveiling of the expanded Wind River Family and Community Health Care Clinic in Riverton. Looking on is U.S. Senator Mike Enzi and members of the NABC. Photo by Kyle Duba

(Riverton, Wyo.) – U.S. Senator Mike Enzi joined Northern Arapaho tribal leaders, city officials, financing partner MoFi, and community members at Friday’s unveiling of the newly expanded Wind River Family & Community Health Care in Riverton, according to a news release from the Tribe.

The grand re-opening event allowed visitors an opportunity to celebrate the culmination of a multi-year effort to expand the clinic’s medical, dental, and behavioral health services to better meet the needs of tribal members and the communities they live in. The expansion is expected to create up to 40 new jobs, and enable the clinic to serve 3,000 patients annually, with 27,500 visits.

US Senator Mike Enzi spoke at the event. Photo by Kyle Duba

The new Wind River Cares clinic, which includes a 5,000-square-foot addition, expands existing services as well as introduces services that were previously unavailable in Riverton. These include increased primary and pediatric care, full service dental care, women’s health services including OB/GYN and prenatal care, expanded occupational, speech, and physical therapy services, with audiology coming soon. The new clinic will also soon add evening and weekend hours.

Wind River CEO Richard Brannan said that this expansion is a game-changer that will noticeably improve the quality of life for the Tribe and the surrounding communities, according to the news release.

Richard Brannan. Photo by Kyle Duba

“Today’s celebration represents a turning point for our community. Residents covered under Indian Health Service used to face traveling up to 35 miles or seeking care at the local emergency room, a more expensive option for both the patient and the provider,” Brannan said. “We wanted to bring in a broader array of services for residents to access the quality of care they need, close to home. We’re grateful to the support of the Northern Arapaho Business Council and our financing partners for helping us make this long-awaited vision a reality.”

Northern Arapaho Tribal Housing Executive Director and former HD 33 State Representative Patrick Goggles spoke at the event. Photo by Kyle Duba

Financing for the clinic’s $3 million expansion came from the Northern Arapaho Tribe, First Interstate Bank, and the New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) program, provided by the nonprofit community development lender, MoFi. The NMTC is a bipartisan federal program designed to incentivize private capital investment in economically distressed areas. In the last year, MoFi has used NMTC to help finance several projects in Wyoming, including the new Arapaho Childcare Center currently under construction across from the Wind River Casino in Riverton, and the Cobblestone Hotel & Suites in Torrington.

MoFi President Dave Glaser said, “Health care facilities play a vital role in creating livable communities and strong economies. Not only does the Wind River expansion provide crucial services that local residents no longer have to travel for or go without—it’s creating good jobs that will help this rural community grow. We look forward to seeing the impacts of this expansion for generations to come.”

The Northern Arapaho Color Guard and Drum opened the ceremony. Photo by Kyle Duba.
Northern Arapaho Dancers performed during the ceremonial unveiling. Photo by Kyle Duba

Background information:

About Wind River Family & Community Health Care Wind River Family & Community Healthcare is a section 638 contract under the direction and guidance of the Northern Arapaho Business Council, Governing Body of Wind River Cares, and Senior Management of Wind River Family and Community Healthcare. Wind River Cares has clinics in Arapahoe, Ethete, and Riverton. Services include family medicine, pediatric care, maternal child health and family spirit, public health nurse services, dental and orthodontics, behavioral health and wellness, optometry and eyeglass program, in house pharmacy and lab. Specialty clinics include prenatal, diabetic, nephrology, podiatry, and colonoscopy.

About MoFi MoFi is a nonprofit community development lender that provides loans to individuals, businesses and communities. MoFi believes that access to responsible, flexible capital is a fundamental right, and that everyone should have equal access to the capital needed to create individual stability, business success and community prosperity. MoFi operates across the Northern Rockies with offices in Missoula, Bozeman and Boise, and in the last decade has provided over $500 million in financing to hundreds of borrowers. Learn more at www.mofi.org.

About the New Markets Tax Credit The New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) was designed to increase the flow of capital to businesses and low income communities by providing a modest tax incentive to private investors. Over the last ten years, the NMTC has proven to be an effective, targeted and cost-efficient financing tool valued by businesses, communities and investors across the country. The NMTC was authorized in the Community Renewal Tax Relief Act of 2000 as part of a bipartisan effort to stimulate investment and economic growth in low income urban neighborhoods and rural communities lacking access to the patient capital needed to support and grow businesses, create jobs, and sustain healthy local economies. The NMTC program is set to expire at the end of FY2019, however, legislation is currently before Congress that would expand and make the program permanent. More information on the credit can be found on the NMTC Coalition’s website at nmtccoalition.org.

–News release from Northern Arapaho Tribe