Hispanic Clinic In Tulsa Expanding

Thursday, November 9th 2006, 7:59 pm
By: News On 6

A clinic that serves Tulsa's Hispanic community is moving locations.

The Community Health Connection demolished an old building to make way for their new, state of the art clinic. Health officials say they'll be able to treat more of Tulsa's growing Hispanic patients in their new building.

News on 6 anchor Omar Villafranca has the story.

Doctor Heather Marancenbaum treats hundreds of Hispanic patients in East Tulsa. As a Doctor, she only cares about their health, not if they’re illegal or not, “I just want to know how I can take care of them."

Officials at the Community Health Connection Clinic treat poor or uninsured Hispanic patients. "I always say, the people that go to the emergency room with a strep throat, or a sore throat or a cough, they don't need to be there, they need to be in a clinic like ours," said Laurie Paul with Community Health Connection.

The Community Health Connection is building a new 15,000 square foot clinic on the corner of 3rd & Lewis. It's strategically located near one of Tulsa's Hispanic neighborhoods.

Doctors expect to see thousands of Hispanic patients in the first year. With a Spanish-speaking staff, Laurie Paul expects to treat more than 16,000 patients in the new facility when it opens in 2008.

The money for the new clinic comes from city, state and federal grants. Paul still has to raise $3.5 million for completion, but she says if clinics like hers can treat minor injuries, they can keep emergency rooms open for real medical emergencies. "If you come with your grandmother or grandfather and they're having a heart attack, you don't want to have them wait behind the people that have the lower level concerns that are better served in a primary care facility like this," said Paul. “People that say that, that the people that are here illegally shouldn't get any benefits, shouldn't get any healthcare, that's not realistic, because they're going to end up in the emergency room."

In order for the clinic to receive their federal grant, patients have to show their last two paychecks and picture identification. They don't have to show a social security card.

Paul says her clinic will keep treating Hispanic patients regardless of immigration status, until the law is changed.