NORMAN — Norman’s working poor often find themselves in the health care gap. They make too much to qualify for government programs but make too little to afford health insurance or to pay for services.
That’s where Health for Friends has filled in the gap. The small clinic, a United Way agency, on Himes Street west of Norman Regional’s Porter Avenue campus has been filling that gap since 1985. Registered Nurse Kathy Heiple started the clinic in a former motorcycle garage.
It has provided medical and dental services, and formerly operated its own pharmacy. The clinic will remain with a new name and partner in its merger with Variety Care, a similar but much larger operation in Oklahoma City.
Variety Care operates clinics in Oklahoma City and several rural communities. The Norman location will provide some economies of scale and efficiencies that were not available with a single clinic.
With Variety Care, the Norman HFF clinic will be able to provide prenatal care, family planning, eye care and mental health care in addition to pediatric medicine and family medicine.