Oklahoma’s Community Health Centers Support Uninsured Oklahomans

Oklahoma’s Community Health Centers Support Uninsured Oklahomans

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT – Alison Williams
(405) 424-2282 x103 or e-mail: awilliams@okpca.org
August 1, 2011

Oklahoma’s Community Health Centers Support Uninsured Oklahomans

OKLAHOMA CITY – More uninsured people are looking to Oklahoma’s community health centers (CHCs) for their health care, and independent studies conclude that investing in the expansion of health centers could save the U.S. health care system billions of dollars.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, over 600,000 Oklahomans were uninsured in 2009. Nearly half of Oklahoma CHC patients are uninsured with more looking to Oklahoma’s community health centers (CHCs) for affordable health care. CHCs provide cost-effective, preventive health services in community-based settings to Oklahomans most in need. Independent studies conclude that investing in the expansion of health centers – could save the U.S. health care system billions of dollars – providing a great return on investment. CHCs serve locally and lead nationally as part of the largest network of primary care providers in the country – operating 7,900 centers that serve over 20 million patients nationwide.

“We see the faces of the uninsured every day and know their stories,” said Greta Stewart, Executive Director of Oklahoma Primary Care Association. “They are our hardworking neighbors and friends whose jobs do not provide them insurance or who cannot afford private coverage. We are proud of our role in keeping the uninsured healthy and out of hospital emergency rooms by providing affordable and accessible preventive health care that saves the health care system money. The tragedy is that for every uninsured patient we help, there are 10 other people who are sick and need life-saving specialty and inpatient care, or prescribed drugs and diagnostic tests, and don’t have the insurance to cover it.”

CHCs are patient-centered medical homes that offer high quality primary, oral and behavioral health care, along with many other preventive and primary care services. In addition to charging on income-based sliding fee scales, patients receive significant savings on prescription drug costs due to CHC participation in the federal 340B drug pricing program. Tens of thousands Oklahomans now have access to affordable, high quality health care through Oklahoma’s 40 community health center sites. CHCs work with local providers to establish seamless systems of affordable, high quality health care available to everyone - including those with Medicaid, Medicare, no insurance, major medical coverage, or full-coverage insurance.

For more than 40 years, community health centers have delivered comprehensive health services in underserved areas across the country. Oklahoma Primary Care Association is the state association for community health centers and other safety-net providers.  Join OKPCA for the National Health Center Week Kick-Off Celebration, August 4, 2011 in the Blue Room of the Oklahoma State Capitol.