The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Local news

November 26, 2012

Doctor: Clinic’s needs are increasing

ENID, Okla. — Enid Community Clinic sees about 2,000 people a year, and the number of patients keeps rising.

Dr. Samantha Moery, a volunteer with the clinic, gave that assessment Monday during an Enid Rotary Club meeting.

The clinic at 1107 E. Broadway, directed by Janet Cordell, a registered nurse, is free for those living in poverty in Garfield County.

Moery said many patients are displaced people with temporary needs, and often can be treated and soon will find a way out of their situation.

She said it is encouraging to see people who have come through the clinic to later appear at her office with medical insurance because they found a job.

“The system worked for them,” Moery said.

However, some people live at poverty level, she said. Physicians volunteer to work at the clinic Tuesday nights, and the number of people usually showing up for services usually means a long line, often going down the street. There also are specialty clinics held twice a month for those with chronic conditions.

Moery said the clinic sees some addicts, but the clinic does not carry the type of medication they are seeking. When patients at the clinic need to be referred, clinic staff contact Enid physicians who specialize in the necessary treatment and volunteer to see such patients.

The only alternative for most of the people who use the free clinic is going to a emergency room, Moery said, which is costly and also crowds up emergency rooms. Some physicians in Enid have begun referring low-income patients or those without insurance to the clinic for maintenance and screening of conditions.

One of the hardest parts about volunteering at the clinic, Moery said, is seeing the children of those without insurance. A large percentage of the clinic’s patients are undocumented aliens or people who cannot afford to go to the emergency room.

Both Enid hospitals support the clinic, and there is a rotation of physicians who work there, Moery said. There usually are two physicians on duty Tuesday nights.

People who do not live in Enid are turned away, because the clinic does not have the facilities to treat everyone, Moery said. There is no paid staff, and the only expenses are medication and upkeep of the building.

The clinic is primarily funded by an annual Charity Ball, sponsored by Northwest Oklahoma Osteopathic Foundation, and by United Way of Enid and Northwest Oklahoma.

Oklahoma annually is listed as one of the unhealthiest states in the nation, and Moery said the clinic sees every type of medical condition, from hypersensitivity to cholesterol to heart disease. She said one of the reasons Oklahoma is among the lowest in healthy state rankings is because of the high rate of obesity and smoking.

“Lung cancer is still one of the top causes of death in Oklahoma, in spite of the anti-smoking movements,” she said.

Another issue, Moery said, is the lack of people who have insurance who use it to maintain medical screenings.

Moery told Rotarians she does not know how to incentivize people to maintain their health. Many companies have wellness programs, which helps people keep a perspective on their health.

Responding to a question from the audience, Moery said she is uncertain what will happen when the new federal health care law kicks in.

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