FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 1, 2019
Contact: Cassidy Heit
Public Policy & Communications Specialist
Oklahoma Primary Care Association
Health care leaders urge legislature to support community health centers
Oklahoma City, OK — Health care leaders across Oklahoma gathered at the State Capitol last week to advocate for community health centers.
More than 28 million Americans including 230,000 Oklahomans are served by community health centers, which provide access to primary care on a sliding fee scale. In our state, community health centers are often one of the only sources of care in rural areas or the only providers offering sliding fee scales for low-income families and individuals. Over 90 locations across the state provide a range of services including medical, dental, behavioral health, and substance use treatment. Community health centers save the health care system money by helping patients avoid unnecessary emergency room visits and by preventing chronic conditions like diabetes and heart disease.
There is longstanding bipartisan support for community health centers from lawmakers in our state and across the country. “Community health centers are tackling some of our state’s most pressing health care problems,” said Dee Porter, CEO of Oklahoma Primary Care Association, the state’s trade association for community health centers. “Their use of behavioral health integration and substance use treatment is working to take on the opioid epidemic. Their use of team-based care and recruitment of professionals into underserved areas is working to address the provider shortage our state faces. Their use of sliding fee scales makes it easier for all Oklahomans to afford access to the health care services they need.”
Community health center advocates encouraged legislators at the Capitol to support legislation that strengthens access to mental health services, increases the number of Oklahomans with health coverage, and enables community health centers to serve more patients.