The Norman Transcript

Letters

August 11, 2013

Kathy Heiple meets Bertha Levy

NORMAN — Two women from central Oklahoma have made a lasting impact on providing compassionate health care for vulnerable Oklahomans, and now their efforts have merged into a new era of care and an expansion of the safety net in central Oklahoma.

As many in Norman already know, Kathy Heiple started Health for Friends in 1985 in the rented garage of a former motorcycle dealership when in her work as a registered nurse, she encountered low income Oklahomans at health fairs and other events who were diagnosed with various health issues or concerns, but had no options for accessing the health care system. Health for Friends grew into a loving and important resource for the uninsured in Norman and Cleveland County. Dr. Bertha Levy was an Oklahoma City pediatrician who, over many decades, helped expand Variety Health Center, first founded by the Oklahoma City Junior League during the Great Depression, into a safe and accessible place for low income pregnant moms and their children to receive high quality health care. Dr. Levy died in 2007 but her imprint permeates the community health center now known as Variety Care, formerly Variety Health Center.

On June 1, Health for Friends became part of the Variety Care family, enabling the Norman clinics to offer more robust care to low income families in Cleveland County. Variety Care has 16 sites across Oklahoma County and rural southwest Oklahoma and now has three sites in Norman, which includes a wellness center at the Central Oklahoma Community Mental Health Center on Alameda. Soon a fourth Norman Variety Care location will open its doors, a school-based health clinic located at Longfellow Middle School.

Variety Care is a community health center, a 501(C)(3) non-profit business commissioned to provide high quality primary care to the medically underserved. Community health centers like Variety Care accept Medicaid, Medicare, and private insurance and also receive a federal grant to help cover the cost of uninsured persons. The Variety Care Foundation actively pursues other grants and contributions in order to keep care affordable to the uninsured and to offer services that may not be covered, or only partially covered, but that are critically needed, such as restorative dentistry, prescription assistance, vision care, behavioral and mental health and eyeglasses. Uninsured patients at community health centers pay according to a sliding fee based on income and size of household, and thanks to Norman Regional Health System and the United Way of Norman, we are able to reduce the co-pay to $10 for medical care for our neediest uninsured patients in Norman.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Letters
  • Change some lines

    Editor, The Transcript: Looking at how our elected Republican friends are reacting to the refugee children crossing the border and now being housed in Lawton, I have a suggestion. Let’s edit the Christian Bible in several places to reflect ...

    July 21, 2014

  • New health care system demonized

    To the Editor: In October 2013, soon after we were asked to take over management responsibilities at our family business, we were visited by the company’s health insurance agent. She explained that a decision needed to be made regarding ...

    July 21, 2014

  • The longer the wait, the higher the cost

    Editor, The Transcript: Thanks for the great article of July 3 on the Norman chapter of the Citizens Climate Lobby group that recently went to D.C. as citizen lobbyists, working to get a revenue-neutral carbon pollution fee, refunded in ...

    July 20, 2014

  • Natural beauty makes way for parking

    Editor, The Transcript: In support and response to an editorial in The Transcript on June 28 by Pam McIntosh, I am writing this article. In the early ‘70s, many years ago, I lived in what was known as the Sooner Mobile Home Park on South ...

    July 20, 2014

  • Trees do job too well

    Editor, The Transcript: State Rep. Richard Morissette should stick to the concrete and asphalt world, where all of nature has already been killed and people live in fear of living things. Leave our beautiful cedar trees alone....

    July 20, 2014

  • Young people barred from education

    Editor, The Transcript: State universities were created to be the avenue of middle class opportunity in America....

    July 20, 2014

  • Common Core fallacies

    Editor, The Transcript: The article ‘Radioactive’ that discussed Common Core (Transcript, July 14) quotes the fallacy from Republican governors that Common Core is a Federal program; it is not. Many conservatives, especially those labeled ...

    July 19, 2014

  • A pattern is emerging

    Editor, The Transcript: Over the past several weeks, three seemingly unrelated events caught my attention. First, near the end of the legislative session, the House and Senate passed with much fanfare and publicity legislation giving ...

    July 12, 2014

  • Voting for our priorities

    Editor, The Transcript: Ok, let me see if I’ve got this straight. When the federal government ended its program of providing $13-$16 million in surplus equipment each year to fire departments, our state and congressional leaders ...

    July 11, 2014

  • Misleading statistics make schools look bad

    Editor, The Norman Transcript: Once again the Norman Transcript has used as a main story someone writing what appears to be designed to make schools and school administrators look bad, and which uses misleading statistics instead of real ...

    July 6, 2014