New Health Center: Treating emergency responders

BOISE - For firefighters and law enforcement around the Treasure Valley, the groundbreaking on Friday, June 7th was ten years in the making.

A new healthcare facility on Emerald will treat injuries and illnesses specific to emergency workers.

Boise Police Union President Guy Bourgeau says the demands of their jobs are unique.

"The lifestyle is a different one," he said. "Your diet is certainly different - how you eat, what you eat. And, the shift work and obviously the calls you go to - the nature of the work is so unique - it can hav a tremendous effect on your health."

The five thousand square-foot building will have rooms for appointments and a gym for annual fitness testings.

The facility's founder, Doctor Rob Hilvers, says police and firefighters have many health issues, but one really stands out.

"They have staggering incidents of online cardiac deaths, particularly for firefighters and police," he said.

So his facility will offer in-depth, cardio-risk analysis.

That means stress and heart testing for emergency responders, and annual physicals on-site.

The clinic will also focus on cancer screenings for those workers exposed to toxins released when fires burn dangerous materials.

Another section of the building will be used to help heal responders with muscle and bone problems due to all that heavy lifting.

Boise Fire's top man says the bottom line is a benefit not only to emergency responders, but taxpayers as well.

"Doc Hilvers knows what police officers and firefighters go through each and every day," Chief Dennis Doan said. "And he'll not only be able to treat injuries, he'll get us back to work faster, which is really going to save taxpayer money because they can get back on the engines and back on the squad cars quicker."

The center is privately-funded and will open before the end of the year.