Free Clinic In Collinsville Gives Uninsured Access To Healthcare
COLLINSVILLE, Oklahoma - As the state fights the federal government over healthcare, it's also faced with the reality that Insure Oklahoma, a state-based program that helps working poor purchase health insurance, may not be renewed.
That would take health insurance away from thousands Oklahomans. But a Green Country clinic is helping to keep healthcare accessible.
"Desperate times, desperate measures," said Beggs resident Sandy Lynn. "But I'm really thankful, that's why I made the drive."
Lynn was one of the first through the door at the Arubah Community Clinic. She said her husband's job was recently eliminated, along with their family's insurance.
She got to the clinic an hour early after driving an hour from Beggs, just to have an even longer wait.
"It's mostly been a cough that's kind of turned to asthma, and now my voice is all whacked, I really don't know," Lynn said.
Her symptoms may seem minor, but she said the cost to go to her regular doctor was just too high.
"My step-father's having chemotherapy and my mom has had a heart attack, and possibly they have found cancer, so I need to make sure I'm well, so I can help care for them," Lynn said.
Lynn said she heard about the free service at Arubah through word of mouth.
"People need healthcare. Everybody needs access to healthcare. Unfortunately it's just not there," said Hilary Nicholson, founder of Arubah Community Clinic.
But on Main Street in Collinsville, it is there and it's completely free for the uninsured. Nicholson, a pediatric nurse practitioner, founded the clinic in 2010. It's open twice a week for a total of four hours.
Nearly 700 people were treated last year, and Nicholson expects that number to grow.
"Our vision is to expand our services, because we do know with Obamacare coming, the uninsured numbers are going to rise," Nicholson said.
For the second time this week, she said the clinic has had to post a sign to patients to let them know the place was booked.
But in the center of it all, Nicholson said there's something greater, and it's the reason she founded the free clinic in the first place.
"We are definitely here to provide medical care, but we are also here to show people the grace that God gives us," Nicholson said.
The clinic runs solely on donations. The doctors, nurses and staff are all volunteers.