Both centers are staffed by fully credentialed health professionals including physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, dentists, dental hygienists and registered and licensed practical nurses. While still focusing on the uninsured, we now accept Medicaid/Soonercare and Medicare, as these individuals are now struggling to find a provider as well.
Programs like our new Medical Voucher Program (MVP), made possible by supporters like Norman Regional Health Systems, will allow us to continue to help our low-income patients with affording their prescription medications.
Finally, we are now in a position to accept patients who live in areas outside of the Norman city limits and in areas with a shortage of health care providers who accept uninsured or Medicare/Medicaid patients, such as Purcell, Noble, Newcastle, Blanchard, Lexington and even Moore and south Oklahoma City. We will be seeking the investment of those communities in our work and look forward to including them in our planning and decision-making.
Looking to the future, there is still much more work to be done. Over the next few months, you will be hearing more about our efforts to be designated a Community Health Center, also known as a FQHC. This will allow Health for Friends to bring even more health care services to our patients and to continue to be responsive to our community’s most critical health care needs.
The FQHC system of community health centers dates back to the 1960s and was established to provide care for the uninsured, the homeless and those with no other health care options and to reduce the reliance on emergency departments for routine health care. We will be stepping up our existing efforts to reach out to the community to solicit your feedback regarding the availability and accessibility of care in our community.
I invite you to visit www.healthforfriends.org to provide your input and to learn more about how Health for Friends is helping build a stronger, healthier community in Norman and the surrounding area. Thank you for the confidence you have shown through your investments and interest in Health for Friends, and we look forward to another 27-plus years of helping those in greatest need of quality, consistent, comprehensive care.
Thank you again for your support,
Brian Karnes is chief executive officer of Health for Friends.