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Local leaders work to better serve uninsured in Oklahoma County

Health and local leaders announced Tuesday the creation of the Oklahoma County Community Health Network, a system that will connect Oklahoma County's free clinics with hospitals and help ensure more coordinated care among clinic patients.
by Jaclyn Cosgrove Published: January 24, 2013

The network will serve as a single referral source, connecting patients from clinics to specialty care, Hupfeld said.

“Wherever a patient lands in one of our clinics, with one phone call, we can get them moved on to a higher level of care,” Hupfeld said.

The network will also establish a case management system where nurses help patients move through the health care system. Nurses employed through the network will check in with patients, asking about whether they're taking their medication and following their doctor's instructions. Third, the network will help convert clinics into the primary source of care for patients, rather than the hospital emergency room.

The network will consist of 12 to 14 staff members, including nurses, bilingual staff members and social workers.

The projected startup and first-year operating costs for the network are about $950,000. So far, the alliance has about 25 percent of funding secured, Cross said. The network is expected to cost about $900,000 per year to run.

Commission leaders set out with a goal of 55 percent of the money coming from private foundations and trusts with health interests; 20 percent from hospital and health systems and their foundations; 15 percent from the Oklahoma City-County Health Department; and 10 percent from corporations, businesses and residents.

The Health Alliance for the Uninsured was selected in November to administer the Oklahoma County Community Health Network. Since that time, alliance staff members have worked to secure funding. Cross said there's always the concern in the nonprofit world that a project won't get funded.

“I've been in the nonprofit sector for nearly 20 years, so I've learned to live with that insecurity and not let it prevent the organization from achieving its mission,” Cross said. “If one door closes, you go in another direction.”

by Jaclyn Cosgrove
Medical and Health Reporter
Jaclyn Cosgrove writes about health, public policy and medicine in Oklahoma, among other topics. She is an Oklahoma State University graduate. Jaclyn grew up in the southeast region of the state and enjoys writing about rural Oklahoma. She is...
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This is very much the opportunity to take care of the poor and underserved by the private sector, by volunteers and by utilizing the best energies of all involved.”

Stanley Hupfeld,
Co-chairman of the Commission to Transform the Health Care Safety Net in Oklahoma County


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