After postponing its reopening because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Palouse Health Center in downtown Palouse is ready again to provide health care to patients.

The center opened Monday as part of the Pullman Regional Hospital Clinic Network. The clinic was owned and operated by Sandra Schorzman for 20 years. Schorzman retired and last year approached the hospital to take over the clinic to ensure it continues to see patients. It is the first clinic PRH has acquired outside of Pullman.

It is now staffed by two onsite providers, nurse practitioner Kristine Brenc and physician assistant Jennifer Davis. Brenc said Palouse Health Center was scheduled to open in April, but the pandemic limited PRH’s resources and the hospital focused its efforts on the Pullman clinics.

Palouse resident Beverly Pearce said the community relied on the Palouse Health Center prior to its closing, especially those who did not want to drive far for care. Pearce said health providers are a valuable resource in a small city.

“Any type of service that rural communities can have enhances their community,” Pearce said.

Pearce is a member of Pullman Family Medicine, another member of the PRH Hospital Clinic Network, so she is pleased the network is in Palouse.

“I’m tickled to have my health care provider so close,” she said.

Brenc said the Palouse Health Center is now open with COVID-19 precautions in place, including masks and a four-person limit in the waiting room to ensure social distancing. The building was also updated with new floors, paint and equipment.

The center provides care for all ages, Brenc said. Its services include urgent care, routine checkups, physical exams, women’s health care and minor procedures such as drainages and skin biopsies.

Unlike the previous Palouse Health Center, the new clinic will use electronic medical records, Brenc said. She also said patients will be able to get their lab results more quickly thanks to PRH’s resources. She added that patients can look up their results using PRH’s online portal.

She said the Palouse Health Center can make getting health care more convenient for people in the smaller rural communities like Palouse and Garfield who do not want to drive long distances to see a doctor at a bigger clinic.

“They can still have their small clinic,” she said.

Brent Peters moved to Palouse recently, but said he, too, would rather have a provider in town instead of having to drive to Pullman or Moscow.

“The more services you have in the town you live the better off you are,” Peters said.

Anthony Kuipers can be reached at akuipers@dnews.com.

Recommended for you