‘Ready to grow’: Paiute Indian Tribe receives grant to fund community health care center in Cedar City

July 05, 2022

Article by St. George News

CEDAR CITY — Community members who currently benefit from the FourPoints Health Clinic in Cedar City will see an expansion of available services once the new facility is built over the next few years.

In April, the U.S. Department of Economic Development Administration awarded $1.9 million in grant funds from the American Rescue Plan Indigenous Communities program to the Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah to support the construction of a new community health center in Cedar City, the department announced in a press release.

“This investment is a good example of EDA’s commitment to Indigenous communities, as well as to addressing Equity as one of its top investment priorities,” the release states.

The project was made possible by regional planning efforts led by the Five County Association of Governments, which created an economic development road map to benefit the regional economy, private capital investments and create jobs, the release adds.

Last October, tribal officials broke ground on the FourPoints Health Clinic, which will be built in a vacant lot southeast of the organization’s existing clinic at 440 North Paiute Drive, which shares the space with the tribal offices.

The current building will remain in use primarily for administrative purposes, the organization’s health director Tyler Goddard said.

The new clinic will be triple the size of the existing one, with a central lobby, an in-house lab, eight dental chair bays and 15 medical exam rooms, Cedar City News previously reported.

Additionally, Goddard said the new facility will have 12 behavioral health counseling rooms compared to the current six and space for future growth.

The design phase is complete and the organization is selecting bids for general contractors to begin work, said Goddard, adding that while they hope the project will conclude in mid-2023, it will most likely be completed in early 2024.

The new clinic has been the tribe’s dream since its federal recognition was restored under Federal trust responsibility in 1980. In the last 15-20 years it has been establishing its own health care independent from the Indian Health Service with the goal of self-governing and “being a resource to themselves,” said Goddard, adding that the clinic welcomes everyone and that a person needn’t be a tribal member to benefit.

“And then in doing that, also giving back to the community and serving,” he said.

FourPoints’ services include primary medical care, dental, pharmaceutical services and mental health treatment and counseling, social services and substance abuse assessment and recovery, according to its website.

Because FourPoints is a federally qualified health center, it offers a sliding fee scale for those who are uninsured or have high-deductible insurance, Goddard said.

Additionally, the organization offers a Native Youth program, the website states. Cultural prevention groups are also available for those exploring services outside traditional therapy, such as sweat lodge ceremonies and drum circles.

The new building will allow FourPoints to expand, consolidate and integrate services to better serve patients in-house. The organization plans to offer additional specialty services, which reduce outside referrals to third-party providers and save the tribe money, Goddard said.

He said that all revenue goes back to health care services for its members and the community.

While exploring various options to expand specialty services, FourPoints officials will base the decision on “true need” and what’s sustainable, Goddard said.

The organization will consider how each service fits the community’s general needs and whether it makes sense to provide for its members, Goddard said.

“There’s things that we’re able to provide to our members because we have enough volume coming in from the general public, like our intensive outpatient substance abuse program,” he said. “We’re a small tribe. We don’t always have the number of people that you would need to demand that level of care … But because we’re open to the general public, we can have that service available.”

A file photo of a screenshot from St. George News presents video featuring FourPoints Health, St. George, Utah, date not specified, St. George News

Among specialties being considered are pediatric and psychiatric services, Goddard said.

According to the press release, the project is expected to create approximately 50 jobs. Goddard said that while discussions and assessments are being done now, they don’t want to lock professionals into contracts too early without certainty they’ll have a place for them to work. When the facility is complete, vacant rooms will be filled as needed to grow into the building rather than filling it up all at once.

“We’re having our feelers out and talking to different people so that things are ready to go and we’re ready to grow,” he said.

To learn more about the Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah visit this website.