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Additional services and new jobs will accompany the expansion of a tribal clinic in Riverton that marked the changes in a reopening ceremony last week.

The Wind River Cares clinic’s new 5,000 square foot addition allowed it to expand its medical, dental and behavioral health services, create up to 40 new jobs and accommodate 3,000 patients, or 27,500 visits, a year.

Wind River Family & Community Health Care oversees the clinic on behalf of the Northern Arpapaho Tribe. CEO Richard Brannan said the long-awaited expansion will improve the quality of life for members of the tribe and the surrounding communities.

“Residents covered under (the) 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,” he said in a Friday news release. “We wanted to bring in a broader array of services for residents to access the quality of care they need, close to home.”

New or expanded services include increased primary and pediatric care; full service dental care, women’s health services like OB/GYN and prenatal care; and expanded occupational, speech and physical therapy services, according to the release. The clinic will also soon offer audiology services and add evening and weekend hours.

Some of the new services were unavailable in Riverton before the expansion, according to the release.

The expansion also comes after a group of Riverton residents recently said they hope to break ground on a nonprofit hospital in the city in the coming months.

Riverton group hopes to break ground on new hospital in coming months

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Wind River Cares also has clinics in Arapaho and Ethete.

Funding for the $3 million multi-year expansion effort came from the Northern Arapaho Tribe, First Interstate Bank and though New Markets Tax Credits, which were provided by MoFi.

MoFi, a nonprofit community development lender that operates in the northern Rockies, has used the tax credits to help pay for other projects in Wyoming, including the Arapaho Childcare Center being constructed across from the Wind River Hotel & Casino.

“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,” MoFi President Dave Glaser said in the news release. “We look forward to seeing the impacts of this expansion for generations to come.”

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Follow reporter Chris Aadland on Twitter @cjaadland

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Chris Aadland covers the Wind River Reservation and tribal affairs for the Star-Tribune as a Report for America corps member. A Minnesota native, he spent the last two years reporting for the Wisconsin State Journal before moving to Wyoming in June 2019.

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