Buchanan County

Northwest Health Services Cares For The Local Community

Having a health center nearby your home is a comfort and a great convenience. For residents that live in rural areas, this is especially true. When the nearest medical help is miles away in larger cities, broken bones and illnesses might not get the immediate attention they need. Thanks to Northwest Health Services, the smaller communities surrounding St. Joseph are getting the healthcare they need.

NWH 1Northwest Health Services helps serve both St.   Joseph residents and the residents in the smaller surrounding towns. Offices throughout the northwest region are nestled among the agricultural communities and serve a population of approximately 275,000 people in 15 counties. Offices in counties such as Andrew, Buchanan, Caldwell, Gentry, Harrison, and Holt reach out to the neighborhoods where they are situated.

Northwest Health Services was founded in an attempt to keep physicians in small communities. Reminiscent of pioneer doctors that used to be just down the street and that used to make house calls, having a physician’s office in a small community makes it stronger and makes health care more personal. Thirty years ago, in HoltCounty, a community feared that when they lost their local aging physicians that they would lose that personal contact with a trusted health provider. In order to retain community-driven health services, they brought together individual practitioners to develop a CommunityHealthCenter that became Northwest Health Services.

The uniqueness in Northwest Health Services is its resolute focus on its community members. It is a patient-centered, community-owned, non-profit organization that is governed by a board of volunteers. Over half the board members are patients of Northwest Health Services. Advice from community members and patients helps tailor the needs for the community. These health providers want to know their community, understand the needs of their community, and reach out to them.

Northwest Health Services accepts all patients, regardless of whether or not they have insurance. They offer reduced cost care for some patients who are challenged by the costs of healthcare. Northwest Health Services strives for excellence in innovation and service to their customers. They aim to provide compassionate care in a safe and healing environment.

Northwest Health Services facilities are multiplying and expanding throughout the northwest Missouri counties. While the organization started off as purely health services, some offices now offer dental care. Providing better and more extensive care for their community is part of their vision. Through collaboration with other providers such as Heartland Health (now Mosaic Care), Northwest Health Services helps their patients be supported throughout their various healthcare procedures and ongoing care.

Having a neighborhood health care center makes a community stronger—both in character and in health. Smaller community health care offices, like the ones provided by Northwest Health Services keep healthcare personal, compassionate, and trustworthy. Knowing that your doctor is competent is essential, but knowing that he or she also truly cares about you is heart-warming and health-giving.

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What is the Process of Starting an Improvement District

DowntownMost towns in America are rooted in their downtown. Those old buildings and streets were the first to offer groceries, healthcare, horse and buggy care, and household supplies. As towns grow and economic development moves into different pockets around a city, that original neighborhood of homes and shops sometimes are forgotten. Some cities aren’t letting that happen.

St. Joseph began growing from the river. The founder cradled the downtown district in the curve of the Muddy Missouri. The French names of his children are forever inscribed on the street signs. Today, city planners, merchants, and private citizens, are collaborating together to renovate that downtown and keep it alive forever, too.

Creating an improvement district takes collaboration, planning, and an agreement by the stakeholders that these funds will be used advantageously for the whole community. An improvement district helps acquire funds in taxes or fees that will help make improvements to the area, support businesses, and spur economic development in a designated boundary in the district. Improvement districts can be in any area of a city. In St. Joseph, one of those improvement districts was formed to help revitalize its historic downtown.

For St. Joseph, it was natural for the St. Joseph Downtown Partnership to initiate the plan for the downtown community improvement district. This partnership is composed of members such as the City of St. Joseph, St. Joseph Metro Chamber, Buchanan County, Convention & Visitors Bureau, Downtown Association, Downtown St. Joseph Redevelopment, and Downtown Special Business District.

In order to create an improvement district, property owners must sign a petition of agreement detailing the next five years under the community improvement district. Next, public hearings must be scheduled to relay the plans. After clearly showing the advantages and the use of the improvement plan, the City Council will vote on its approval.

Registered voters in the district must also approve funding that would come from sales taxes, property taxes, and other user fees. This can make the process more time-consuming, but will get the vested support of the community’s citizens. Once the improvement district is initiated, a board of directors must be appointed to oversee it. These directors can be appointed by residents and property owners within the boundaries of the CID or by city officials.

Forming an improvement district can contribute to the goals of downtown partnerships. With the funds created by the improvement district, business owners can gain better marketing experiences that can help the downtown thrive. Funding can be used to educate businesses in product presentation, window displays, best hours of operation, and more.

In St. Joseph, the downtown is being re-energized by partnerships and pride. Old buildings are being renovated; loft apartments, new restaurants, bakeries, and trendy shops are appearing. It is not really “out with the old, in with the new.” Supporting and revitalizing an old downtown is “preserving the old, and welcoming the new”.

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