Bingham Healthcare has opened a new specialty clinic to expand the reach of its weight-loss program.

The clinic, at 1975 Martha Ave., opened in October, replacing a smaller location that had been located a few blocks away. The new clinic has started admitting new patients and offering services for EMPOWER, Bingham Healthcare’s weight-loss program that launched earlier this year.

Program coordinator Ashlee Grimmett said that before the new clinic opened, all patients had to travel to Blackfoot for their first consultation in order to join the weight-loss program.

“There are a lot of people in the surrounding areas who are excited to come here and fulfill what they want to do instead of having to go to Blackfoot,” Grimmett said.

The EMPOWER program includes a spectrum of solutions, from mindfulness and healthy eating to weight-loss surgeries, to help patients lose weight and keep it off. The new Idaho Falls clinic will offer all the same programs as the main location in Blackfoot, except for bariatric surgeries and some pre-surgical checks.

Dr. Tammy Fouse, the lead bariatric surgeon at Bingham Memorial Hospital and head of the EMPOWER program, has an office at the Idaho Falls clinic to meet new patients. The specialty clinic also contains a psychiatrist’s office, medical exam rooms, classroom space for lectures and support groups, and a place where patients can receive IV fluids the day after their surgery.

The next support group session in Idaho Falls will be held in December. The next class will be offered in February and will focus on sleep. Fouse hopes that all the EMPOWER patients will go through a sleep study as part of their treatment.

“Obesity and sleep apnea go very much hand-in-hand. When you lie down, all that weight compresses onto your chest and prevents you from getting that restful REM sleep,” Grimmett said.

Later this year, a “Wall of Fame” will be installed at the new clinic with pictures of patients who have successfully lost weight through EMPOWER. Grimmett said that over the next year, Bingham Healthcare officials plan to expand the Idaho Falls location into the other suite of its new building and start offering weight-loss surgery as well.

Brennen is the main education reporter for the Post Register. Contact him with news tips at 208-542-6711.