ENID, Okla. — For more than 20 years, Enid Community Clinic has offered free medical care, referrals and education to Garfield County residents in need.

The clinic, at 1106 E. Broadway, was founded in 1995 and opened in its current location in August 1996. 

Janet Cordell, clinic coordinator, said the clinic was formed with the help of three area hospitals, along with local physicians, nurses, pharmacists, the United Way and local donors. 

“When we first opened the clinic we had three hospitals in Enid, and they all donated to us,” Cordell said.

Enid Regional Hospital closed its doors shortly before the clinic open theirs in July 1996. But, Cordell said the clinic has kept going with the support of both St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center and Integris Bass Baptist Health Center.

Funding source

The clinic operates with an all-volunteer staff, including doctors, nurses and administrative volunteers.

“We have a small group of doctors who see patients here, but they’re very dedicated,” Cordell said. “We are very well supported by both hospitals.”

Financial support for the clinic comes from local donors and from the annual Enid Charity Ball, scheduled this year for Aug. 25.

Cordell said the evening of dinner, dancing and a silent auction is one of the clinic’s primary sources of funding.

“Thanks to them, we don’t have to have bake sales and bed races and things like that just to keep the doors open,” Cordell said. “It raises a tremendous amount of money and really helps fund the clinic.”

Sponsorships for the event currently are available at enidcharityball.com.

Qualify for care

The clinic opens its doors for primary care most Tuesdays at 5 p.m. and is open for the nurse clinic and diabetic education most Thursdays 9-11 a.m. 

Services provided at the clinic cover primary care; medication needs; patient education; acute health issues, such as influenza and infections; and chronic health problems, such as diabetes, heart conditions and high blood pressure.

The clinic does not provide services for obstetrics and gynecology, immunizations, dental, physicals and second opinions, workers compensation and disability evaluations and mental health services.

Cordell said the clinic stretches its budget by only seeing patients who wouldn’t qualify to be seen elsewhere.

“We try not to duplicate free services they can receive elsewhere,” Cordell said, such as reproductive health services or immunizations at the health department or mental health screenings at Northwest Center for Behavioral Health. 

Volunteer income screeners ensure people coming to the free clinic meet strict income requirements. Patients must have a household income at or below 185 percent of the federal poverty level and must be a resident of Garfield County.

The screeners also ensure patients at the free clinic don’t have insurance that would enable them to be seen at a for-profit clinic.

“They look at what income they have and whether or not they qualify here,” Cordell said. “If they have Medicare, Medicaid or private insurance, we don’t see them. We’re not trying to be an acute care clinic.”

A training field

Cordell said the typical patients at the clinic are low-income individuals with chronic health issues and no medical insurance.

But, while not all people qualify for services at the clinic, Cordell said clinic volunteers help those in need find other services in the community.

“A lot of times the people we serve the most are people we don’t even see,” Cordell said. “Often, we serve as an information and referral service.”

The clinic also has served over the last two decades as a training ground for scores of doctors and nurses.

“We have been a training site for a lot of different places,” Cordell said, including St. Mary’s, Integris Bass Baptist, Autry Technology Center, NWOSU-Enid and NOC Enid.

Whitney Johnson, nursing student at Northwestern Oklahoma State University-Enid, was working alongside Cordell last week, preparing for her graduation from nursing school in May. 

Johnson, who already has accepted a position in the post-critical care unit at St. Mary’s, said her time at the free community clinic has been “eye opening.”

“It’s been amazing to learn all of the community resources that have been brought to my attention,” Johnson said. “It’s been eye-opening to see all of the resources that a lot of people don’t even know are available in the community.”

For information on Enid Community Clinic contact the clinic at (580) 233-5300.

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Neal is health, military affairs and religion reporter and columnist for the Enid News & Eagle. Follow him on Twitter, @jamesnealwriter, and online at jamesrneal.com. He can be reached at jneal@enidnews.com.

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I am a retired Naval Officer and small business owner, outside of my work at the News & Eagle. My wife Tammy and I enjoy serving together at church and attending Gaslight and ESO. We have two daughters, three dogs and little free time.

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