The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

October 12, 2013

Filling health care need

By Phyllis Zorn, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — Backing from a state organization as well as funding in memory of a longtime United Way employee have permitted Enid Community Clinic to fill one more health care need in Enid.

Oklahoma Project Woman, a nonprofit group based in Tulsa that funds mammograms, biopsies and even needed breast surgery for women who have no insurance, was looking to find a way to offer those services in Enid. Enid Community Clinic made the perfect partner.

Anne Bogie, executive director of Oklahoma OPW, explained that the organization got started in Tulsa in 1998, then grew statewide. OPW has developed relationships with 67 clinics in 37 communities, Bogie said.

“Our goal is to provide free breast health care,” Bogie said. “That includes not only mammograms, but biopsies and surgery for women and men with no insurance and limited resources.”

OPW will help about 3,500 Oklahoma residents get mammograms and about 50 of them are expected to be diagnosed with breast cancer, Bogie said. OPW has relationships with clinics, hospitals and ancillary groups to provide services their clients need.

“We raise money to reimburse those doctors, just a little but not very much, for providing care for them,” Bogie said.

OPW clients living in the panhandle region, though, had nowhere closer than Tulsa to get a mammogram. That’s where Enid Community Clinic came in.

OPW contacted Integris Bass Baptist Health Center to negotiate a reduced fee for OPW clients. Bass then contacted Janet Cordell, coordinator of the community clinic.

“They came to Integris and asked them to contract to do mammograms for a reduced fee so they could fund them,” Cordell said. “As a part of those negotiations, Bass called me and said, ‘This looks like something you need to be involved in.’”

Vicky Godding, director of radiology at Bass, said OPW contacted her in the spring. They had contacted her a couple years ago and she’d thought all arrangements had been finalized, Godding said. This time, Godding made sure all the T’s got crossed and the I’s got dotted.

Additionally, since OPW and Enid Community Clinic teamed up to make the mammograms available, a way was found to make pelvic exams available as well. As Cordell sees it, women need both screening procedures.

“If we do a breast exam on a woman and don’t do a pap smear, that gives her a false sense of security,” Cordell said.

That’s where United Way of Enid and Northwest Oklahoma came in. Pamela Ballard, United Way executive director, took the idea to the organization’s executive committee. The committee approved giving $1,000 from the Ronna Richards Fund to establish Enid Community Clinic’s Women’s Clinic.

Cordell said the Women’s Clinic sees patients one day a month. Since the first session in July, more than two dozen women have been seen in three sessions.

DLO Laboratories in Oklahoma City processes the pap smears for Enid Community Clinic at a greatly reduced rate.

Drs. Laura Miller and Jamie Jacobson have come to provide pelvic exam services, and more physicians may assist later, Cordell said.

“The goal is to help women who don’t have access to care for mammograms and pap smears,” Cordell said.

Cordell said she is contemplating writing a United Way venture grant for funding for the Women’s Clinic next year.

Enid Community Clinic remains on summer hours until November, when they go back to having clinic every Tuesday evening.

“We generally register from 40 to 60 people on Tuesday night,” Cordell said.

The Thursday morning nursing clinic continues to see about 25 people as well, Cordell said. The nursing clinic will be giving flu shots.

Oklahomans who qualify for the OPW program receive a voucher to pay for a mammogram, breast ultrasound and other breast-testing procedures. OPW also can connect patients with a breast specialist for limited cost when necessary.

To qualify, patients must have no private health insurance, Medicare, Title 19 or Medicaid; have income below 185 percent of Federal Poverty Guidelines; and have a clinical breast exam within two months of the mammogram.

For more information on the Women’s Clinic, or request a mammogram through the partnership between OPW and Enid Community Clinic, call (580) 233-5300.