The clinic, like thousands of health centers across the country, is being recognized this week for the vital role it plays in the health and well-being of the communities it serves.
The National Association of Community Health Centers has announced August 7-13 as National Health Center Week. Community health centers, like The Clinic, provide preventive and primary care services to nearly 29 million people across the country.
The clinic is a Federally Licensed Health Center (FQHC) serving more than 15,000 patients in four rural Oklahoma communities, including Ada, Konawa, Seminole and Stratford. Founded in 1968, the clinic has grown to meet a vital health care need in these communities.
“We care deeply about the health and well-being of our patients and the communities they call home, because they are our communities too,” said Brenda Ware, CEO of The Clinic. “We strive to provide the best care to our friends, family and neighbours. When they are healthy, our communities are healthy and everyone benefits.
Community health centers like The Clinic provide care for people who disproportionately suffer from chronic conditions and often lack access to affordable, quality health care. Although their approach is community-based and localized, collective health centers like The Clinic form the backbone of the country’s primary care system. They reduce health care costs by $24 billion a year, they reduce chronic disease rates and they boost local economies.
“As a community health center, the clinic not only heals, but innovates,” Ware said. “We look beyond medical records to address factors that can cause poor health, such as homelessness, poverty, substance use, mental illness, lack of nutrition and unemployment. We try to understand these underlying socio-economic issues so that we can treat people appropriately and effectively.
Community health centers, like The Clinic, are a key part of the country’s healthcare system. They work with hospitals, governments, and other health and social organizations to improve health outcomes for medically and economically vulnerable people.
“All patients are welcome at the clinic, whether fully insured or underinsured,” Ware said. “As FQHC, we have flexibility in how we handle this. For example, the clinic may participate in the federal 340B Drug Pricing program. This makes the drugs affordable for all patients, regardless of their economic status.
Accessibility is perhaps the most important aspect of community health centers. Access to basic health care remains a challenge in rural areas of the country. Many people reside in smaller, underserved communities where there may be a shortage of providers and services. In some cases, the nearest doctor or hospital may be a long drive away.
“Rural health care is extremely important because not everyone chooses to live in a big city,” Ware said. “We cannot forget these people or allow them to slip through the cracks of an urban health system. We are committed to ensuring that they have the same access to high-quality providers and services that can be found in the largest metropolitan areas of the country.
National Health Centers Week is the perfect opportunity to learn more about what La Clinique has to offer. Please visit www.cofmc.com to learn more.