Char-Koosta News

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Tribal Health St. Ignatius Clinic optical services grand opening set

THHS Optical Services hours and location
• St. Ignatius Optical Optometry
745-3525 ext. 5091
Monday: 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Tuesday: 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
(Closed for lunch 12 to 1 p.m.)

• Polson Optical Optometry
883-5541, ext. 7321
Wednesday: 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Thursday: 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
(Closed for lunch: 12 to 1 p.m.)
Friday: 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.

ST. IGNATIUS — Mark your calendars for Monday, April 1. That is the date of the grand opening event for the St. Ignatius THHS Clinic Optical Services Program — no fooling. Hours and details about the event are presently being finalized and will be announced next week.

The provision of optical services in St. Ignatius is one of the goals of Tribal Health to better serve Indian Health Service eligible clientele utilizing THHS through, in this case, an expansion of services.

The expansion allows eligible clientele, in some cases, the option of saving gas, time and money by “shopping locally” so to speak instead of going off the Flathead Indian Reservation for optical services in Missoula or Kalispell. It is also a viable option for those that receive optical services on the reservation.

In order to be a viable option, the on-rez THHS professional optical services had to be just as professional in the sense of staff, equipment and inventory offerings. To guide that professionalism in optical services THHS hired Dr. Clint Hoxie approximately three years ago. The Optical Program manager is assisted by Raelena Whitesell, optical technician.

“We’ll have most of the same services here in St. Ignatius as they do in Polson but some services — those that require the special testing equipment housed in Polson will stay in Polson,” Hoxie said. “We’ll be running our Optical Program just like a private business with some competitive advantages. We’ll be offering excellent quality eye care with eyewear options that we sell at cost, generally around a third of the open market price.”

Dr. Hoxie as well as Whitesell will split their time between the Polson and St. Ignatius THHS clinics. (See attached hours sidebar)

Hoxie has been seeing optical patients in Mission for a month now in the recently remodeled, staffed and stocked optical offices located next to the audiology offices in the St. Ignatius THHS Clinic.

“The goal of the St. Ignatius (THHS) clinic’s optical services is to mirror whatever services they offer up north in the Polson (THHS) clinic,” said Clarice Cooper, THHS Clinical Care Division manager. “The service is good, the products are as good as they are in private practice at a reasonable and affordable price. Everything is the same as private practice except people get more bang for their buck here.”

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