State Department of Health outlines procurement of Federal Health Center

by C.F. David

Between 75 and 100 Cimarron County residents gathered Tuesday night to learn how a Federally Qualified Health Center might become a reality.

The county was represented with residents of Keyes, Felt, Boise City and Griggs present.

All three County commissioners were in attendence as well as the four serving members of the Cimarron County Memorial Hospital Board.

The Cimarron County Chamber of Commerce was also represented.

Michael Brown of the Oklahoma State Department of Health kicked off the meeting.

Brown explained that it was the federal government's intention to bring about an increase of access to primary care, what Brown called the three-legged stool of health.

F Physical Care

F Oral Care

F Behaviorial care

“Every citizen deserves prevenative health care,” Brown said.

“We work with communities to establish Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC),” he said.

“I'm not saying we are bringing one. That's up to the community.”

Brown added that the U.S. has about 45 million 45 to 46 uninsured citizens. “Those people delay seeking a cure.”

Janna Castleberry took the mike, and explained that the community needed leader(s) to begin the process of aquairing the health center. She turned and motioned at Clinic Manager Tammy Avent, “Tammy has stepped up to the plate to begin that process.”

(See clinic on page 6)

(Clinic from page 1)

Castleberry continued by explaining that it was necessary the county residents select a board from among themselves. The board must have at least nine members and could have as many as 21.

Brown explained that Cimarron County is classified as a location with un-met health needs.

We have done a “State of the County health Report”. I know you have a lot of residents with diabetes. Brown explained that the FQHC would be able to address the problem of diabetes by helping to establish life-style changes.

Brown explained that other questions need to be answered about how the clinic could serve the community. For instance would it need to stay open late two nights a week? Open on Saturday or even Sunday? These answers would have to come from the community and county deciding how they wanted the facility to operate.

Castleberry added that one thing needed was a banker who could help set up the proper funding and financials.

Asked if the present hospital board could serve, Brown explained that it was illegal for a hospital board to govern the clinic, but not for the clinic board to govern the hospital. He added that a hybrid board made up of hospital board members and clinic board members was probably a good mix.

He then added that at least 51 percent of the hospital board would have to be patients of the clinic, and that of the minority 49 percent, only 50 percent could be in a health related field.

“A health center would be viable here because of your location. You are medically under served,” Brown said.

“What you will be doing is removing obstacles to health care,” Brown explained.

Brown added that even without the federal grant with a clinic called a look-alike, that Medicaid and Medicare payments “...should be robust.”

He added that a local pharmacy could be contracted for medications. The prescriptions would be discounted according to need.

On the downside, Brown explained that the grant might take as long as two years to acquire.

Brown also pointed out that local employers which could offer no health insurance would be assured that with the clinic their employees would have access to preventative health care.

Brown added that medical professionals such as doctors could be recruited by breaks on student loans, with a gaurentee they'll stay at least three to five years.

“After that we hope they have roots down and want to stay,”Brown explained.

Boise City News
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Boise City, Oklahoma 73933-0278
Phone: 580 544-2222
Fax: 580 544-3281
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