A new health facility that provides services to insured and non-insured patients regardless of their income has made itâ€™s home in Poteau.
The Health and Wellness Center, located at 204 Wall St., Suite A, is a branch of the Stigler-based company and opened its doors locally on October 15, 2012. The plan to find a home for a center in Poteau began several years ago.
â€śOur management team has spent the past two years developing relationships with Poteau area service providers such as Department of Human Services, The Health Department, Leflore County Health Coalition, and the hospital,â€ť said Teresa Huggins, center CEO. â€śWe have been working with these organizations in one way or another for the past two years, if not longer, as we have been in operation in Stigler since 2005, and have served many people from Poteau in our Stigler clinic.â€ť
Huggins said the center is part of a national network of community health centers trying to meet the needs of underserved populations. All counties are considered for possible expansion, depending on the community desire and need.
â€śOur organization is in adjoining counties (Haskell and Sequoyah); therefore, Leflore County was a logical consideration for expansion of our service area,â€ť said Huggins.
The shortage of medical professionals in relation to the county population and need was a driving force for HWC expansion into LeFlore County.
What makes Health and Wellness Center different from other medical providers in the area? According to Huggins, a large difference is their ability to help people without insurance.
â€śWe are a federally qualified health center and we receive a federal grant which allows us to offer services to non-insured patients on a sliding fee scale, with discounts according to their household size and income,â€ť said Huggins. â€śWe are able to provide affordable accessible health care services to patients, regardless of ability to pay.â€ť
Huggins said county health departments are geared toward population health and emergency or urgent care clinics are typically designed for acute issues. The HWC clinic provides primary and preventive medical, dental, mental health, vision, and pharmacy services.
â€śWe serve as a medical home for our patients. We not only treat acute symptoms, but manage our patientâ€™s chronic illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, COPD, high blood pressure, obesity, depression, anxiety, etc. Currently, our Poteau location offers medical, mental health, and pharmacy services. Dental and optometry can be referred to our Stigler location,â€ť said Huggins.
If you have medical insurance and arenâ€™t eligible for medical assistance due to income, the HWC is still the place for you.
â€śAll services are provided to everyone who presents as a patient. Anyone can use our clinic, regardless of income or insurance status,â€ť said Huggins. â€śThe only difference is that our non-insured patients are able to apply for a discount based on their income. If a patient comes in with private insurance, Medicaid or Medicare, then we bill in the same manner as any other clinic.â€ť
The center is also geared to help patients who need specialized treatment that canâ€™t be provided at their clinic. Huggins said if someone is in need of specialized care they have two full time referral clerks and an entire network of specialists such as cardiologist, pulmonologists, general surgeons, ENT specialists, neurologists and orthopedists with whom they can refer patients.
Area providers who give treatment at the clinic are Dr. David Campbell, D.O.; Dr. Linda Rodriguez, D.O.; Dr. Eric Broadway, M.D. and resident psychiatrist; Linda Hoffman and Becky Sanders, nurse practitioners; and Janet Mosquedo, licensed clinical social worker.
The HWC is a private non-profit organization with a governing board of directors on which two representatives from LeFlore County, Jackie Perez from The Community State Bank and Rita Jones from DHS, sit.
Since the local clinic began helping patients they have seen a total of 2,805 patients for medical and or counseling visits.