Story: Lac Courte Oreilles Community Health Center

The Sponsor

Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians is a Native tribe living on 75,000 acres in Sawyer County, Wis.—about 100 miles north of Eau Claire and 80 miles south of Duluth, Minn. The tribe is the largest employer in the county, and it operates numerous tribal, social and education services, including a health provider, school system and emergency shelter.

Its existing health care buildings were built in 1987 and are among the oldest tribal health centers in the country. A lack of space limits the number of people who can be served, as well as what services are available and how efficiently they can be delivered. Those limits are particularly troubling in light of the rise in chronic disease among members of the tribe and significant challenges with alcohol, drugs and mental health—with patients having to visit multiple facilities to access the support they need.

The Project

The tribe is in the midst of a $46.6 million development plan to build a new community health facility that will bring all its health care services under one roof and dramatically expand services to patients. The project expands health care space from the existing 39,000 square feet to 60,000 square feet—allowing the tribe to double the number of annual patient visits to more than 38,000, most of whom are patients with low incomes.

The project supports a “whole person” health care model. It allows for a streamlined approach to behavioral health services, while also expanding pharmacy services, dental services, lab space and chiropractic space and adding optometry care, physical therapy and community health services that would not otherwise be available.

Broadstreet committed $8.8 million from LISC’s New Market Tax Credit allocation to support the project, with additional NMTC allocations from FCI ($12.1 million), IFF ($11.425 million), Impact 7 ($10 million) and US Bank CDE ($2 million). The NMTC investors are US Bank and Equitable Health Fund—a Broadstreet-managed fund capitalized by UnitedHealthcare.

Impact Statistics

  • $8.8M Broadstreet NMTC Allocation
  • 15 Projected Permanent Jobs Created

The Impact

NMTC financing is essential to the sustainability of the project, helping the tribe avoid costly market-rate debt that would compromise the scope and timeline of the new health center. What’s more, the NMTC commitments are attracting private development capital to a community working to overcome historical discrimination and its deep-seated effects, including high rates of poverty and unemployment, below-average life expectancies and a disproportionate disease burden. The project will also create 15 new full-time positions and 140 construction jobs, all paying a living wage.