McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

State House

November 1, 2013

Enid to get community health center by spring

ENID, Okla. — Sometime in the spring, Enid residents will have another option for medical, dental and behavioral health care.

Tim Starkey, executive director of Great Salt Plains Health Center, told members of the Health Planning Committee of the Mobilizing for Action through Planning and Partnerships committee at their Friday morning meeting that the Cherokee-based, federally funded community health center has closed the deal on the purchase of a building in Enid.

The Enid office will be at 1101 E. Broadway, right across the street from Enid Community Clinic. As of now, it is hoped the health center will open with limited hours and limited services by spring, Starkey said.

“Our goal is to open by March,” he said.

Starkey said Dr. Keenan Ferguson, who practiced in Enid before going to the Cherokee health center, will staff the Enid office.

The plan is to start out with two full-time medical practitioners.

GSP makes use of physician assistants and nurse practitioners, as well as physicians.

The health center offers comprehensive primary care, dental care and behavioral health care to its patients. Enid patients in need of dental and behavioral services will be referred to the Cherokee office until the health center can afford to add those services in Enid.

“We offer sliding fee discounts to low-income patients,” Starkey said.

To qualify for discounts, the patient’s income must be below 200 percent of the federal poverty level, Starkey said.

Starkey said GSP awaits a decision on a grant application to the Health Resource Services Administration. HRSA is a federal agency for improving access to health care services for people who are uninsured, isolated or medically vulnerable. That decision should be made within another month or two, Starkey said.

After that, the health center will need to get approval from Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Great Salt Plains formed as an organization in 2007. The health center opened in 2008, providing services to residents of Cherokee, Alfalfa County and the surrounding area. It moved into a remodeled and larger building in 2010. An outreach clinic at Medford was opened in 2012.

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