By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
The non-profit community health center, Variety Care will receive a $1.13 million grant from the federal Health Resources & Services Administration to develop and operate a new health center location on Britton Road near North Walker Avenue.
The HRSA “new access point award” will provide a two-year grant to support a new Variety Care site featuring medical, dental and behavioral health care in the north-central part of Oklahoma City.
“The plan is that the building will be approximately 10,000 square feet in size offering medical, behavioral health and dental services,” said Robyn Coventon, Variety Care OKC Chief Administrative Officer.
The funding can be renewed annually if certain requirements related to access and quality are met.
“We are happy that HRSA continues to recognize the need for expanding access to comprehensive primary care in Oklahoma,” said Lou Carmichael, Variety Care’s CEO. “We look forward to working with local businesses, schools and other non-profits in the Britton area to make sure all families can have access to quality, affordable health care.”
The federal agency requires new access points to be operational within 120 days of the funding being awarded, which means Variety Care will open a temporary clinic in the area while construction of the full health center commences.
The temporary site and the new building is expected to be completed toward the end of 2016 or early 2017. It will be close to several schools and will provide important health care access to children and their parents.
“Access to quality health care is critical for children to succeed in school. Beyond cold and flu season, kids need good dental care for healthy mouths and sometimes need counseling to help address traumas and stresses,” said Ronda Hamilton, principal at Britton Elementary School.
“In addition, many parents from hardworking families have a hard time affording medical care for themselves. Healthy parents can more easily raise healthy kids, and this new health center site will have a positive impact on the area around Britton Elementary.”
Carmichael said Variety Care already sees a number of families from the Britton area at its Straka Family Health Center, about 16 miles away in south Oklahoma City. With this new health center, far more residents from the Britton area will be able to have consistent access to primary care.
Variety Care has locations in Oklahoma City, Norman, Del City, Fort Cobb, Grandfield and Thomas. The health center saw more than 78,000 people in 2014, providing primary medical, dental, vision and behavioral health care with multiple services at some sites.
Variety Care accepts Medicaid, Medicare and private insurance for both adults and children, but uninsured patients can access care by paying cash along a sliding scale based on income and family size.
“The more our board members and advocates spread the word, the more people will know about us and the exceptional work we do,” said Gloria Barton, Variety Care Chair. “Larger numbers of community advocates will help Variety Care positively change the state of health care in Oklahoma.”
A United Way partner agency, Variety Care works to provide affordable and accessible health care for all patients.
The Variety Care Foundation provides philanthropic support and community awareness for Variety Care and its efforts.
To schedule an appointment call 405-632-6688 or for more information, visit www.VarietyCare.org