Free Clinics Provide Health Care for Uninsured


Monday, March 23rd 2009, 5:51 pm
By: News 9


By Jennifer Pierce, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Oklahomans are putting their health at risk and may not even realize it. That's why hospitals like INTEGRIS Health are holding free clinics to help those who can't afford health care.

Over half a million Oklahomans are living without health insurance. As part of National Cover the Uninsured Week, INTEGRIS Health held a free clinic at a local church.

At the clinic patients can see professionals for any health concern. The most common problems are diabetes and hypertension.

"The population that we see, which are mainly the uninsured and the people who have the least amount of money, those are the people that fall into that category," Lisa Reed said. "By the time patients come to free clinics like this, their medical problems have usually reached a dangerous level, that's why the state is now stepping in to make sure the uninsured have options."

Lawmakers are working on a health care reform bill this session.

"Our job as the State Legislature is to make sure affordable options are available to our residents," Representative Kris Steele, Speaker Pro Tempore said.

Some of those options include Insure Oklahoma, which is now available to small business employees. And before long, young adults could have access to an affordable, basic preventative plan.

"This would primarily cover doctor visits, certain prescription drugs, and catastrophic coverage in the event of an accident," Steele said.

The goal is to insure all Oklahomans, no matter what their income may be.

"We're gonna mover there one day, I mean, it's slow, but we're gonna get there," Reed said.

INTEGRIS Health holds free clinics every 2nd, 3rd and 4th Monday of the month at Olivet Baptist Church. In addition to health care they also help folks with medication, vision and dental needs.