Health care is important, but it can be costly. For Norman families who cannot afford it, there is a solution. 

Variety Care is a Community Health Center (CHC), which aims to provide health care for people who have problems accessing health care services. 

Variety Care Chief Operating Officer Carol Martin said the funding the center receives from the United Way allows the nonprofit to offset a lot of the costs for patients who need dental, medical or pediatric services.

“Many of the patients we see in Norman clinics are low-income adults,” she said. “There are many times when patients come in with the money to pay for the visit, but the provider may set up a series of lab tests to determine the best treatment plan.

“Variety Care uses United Way funds to help the patient with a portion of those costs.”

Justin Barrow, a Variety Care practice administrator, said insured or uninsured, it doesn’t matter. 

“Anyone can be seen at a Variety Care,” he said. “A lot of places will turn people away if they are uninsured. We won’t do that. Being able to provide patients with everything they need at a low cost is truly a great thing.” 

Barrow said without the United Way’s help, people would not have the chance to seek the help they need. 

“There are a lot of people who would not be able to see a doctor or seek health care otherwise,” he said. It’s an unfortunate reality, and that is why organizations like the United Way are so important.”

Martin agreed with Barrow and said if someone is suffering from a severe illness, they can’t wait it out. They need to see someone immediately, and Variety Care is the answer. 

“Many patients will just wait until the problem becomes more chronic and more expensive to treat,” Martin said. “The patient will eventually end up in the emergency room, where the visit will be much more costly than if he had accessed care through a community health center.”

In addition to offering basic health services, Variety Care also offers mental health services, Barrow said. 

According to data collected from the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2014, Oklahoma had the sixth highest percentage of residents without health insurance. Centers like Variety Care continue to focus on providing those without insurance a peace of mind. 

Variety Care has 16 locations spread out across the state, including Fort Cobb, Grandfield, Thomas, Del City, Norman and Oklahoma City. 

To make an appointment, call the Variety Care business line at 632-6688. For more information, go to the Variety Care website, varietycare.org.

The United Way of Norman funds programs at 27 local nonprofit organizations. The United Way and these agencies work together to create lasting community changes in Norman, Noble and southern Cleveland County. For more information or to give to the United Way of Norman, visit UnitedWay-Norman.org