Dr. Oliver poses in a Family Healthcare Clinic exam room.
FHC helps mother of three get cancer treatment
Twenty-six year old Margie put off getting a lump checked out after she found out her Medicaid had been cancelled. She had three children and felt she could not afford to pay for private care. So, she kept her worries to herself, even as her situation grew progressively worse over the next few months. She lost 20 pounds due to her ill health, but could not figure out how to get her Medicaid re-instated.
But then she heard that her former doctor, Dr. Oliver, was now seeing patients at Family Healthcare Clinic, a United Way agency. Margie immediately made an appointment, and thanks to Access to Care, a program that receives United Way funding, she paid only $40 for the visit.
Family Healthcare Clinic diagnosed Margie with cancer, so the staff helped Margie get back on Medicaid, then referred her to the Oklahoma Cancer Center. She is undergoing treatment, and has been connected with other helpful organizations, including Hopestone Cancer Support Center in Bartlesville.
“Each new day at Family Healthcare clinic brings patients in for care who, if they had not learned of our quality, affordable services, would otherwise put off getting the needed care until they were in a medical emergency,” Family Healthcare Clinic Executive Director Patty Leach said. “Or they would have been in the position of having to jeopardize their family’s financial situation in order to pay a much higher rate to receive the medical care they desperately need.”
The Access to Care program is a key piece of United Way’s focus on health. United Way improves lives in the areas of education, income and health, which are the building blocks of a successful future.
“When a person is healthy, it’s easier to perform well at work or learn in school,” Bartlesville Regional United Way Marketing Manager Abigail Singrey said. “By helping members of our community stay healthy, we are giving them the foundation they need to be successful.”
A 2015 Community Profile commissioned by the Bartlesville Regional United Way found that health is still a challenge in our area. Oklahoma is ranked 43rd in the nation in health, nearly last place. Thirty-two percent of adults are obese. Oklahoma ranks 48th in cardiovascular health, 43rd in cancer deaths and 44th in infant mortality.
Contributing to the challenge is the lack of health insurance. According to the most recent report from the Oklahoma State Department of Health, 12.9 percent of people in Washington County had no health insurance, and 16.2 percent of people in Nowata County lack insurance. Countless others are under-insured or have high deductible policies.
Some of these underinsured and uninsured people are able to get the help they need through FHC’s “Access to Care” program. Last year, 885 patients were given appointments and laboratory work was provided at reduced cost to patients 582 times. Last year, 74 percent of patients in the Access to Care program had a household income of less than $25,000 a year.
“By providing funding to Access to Care, United Way is working to be part of the solution,” Singrey said. “Our donors are making a huge difference in the lives of people, like Margie, in our community who find themselves in need of a helping hand.”