We’re always on the lookout for stories about how health centers are serving special populations. On this Veterans Day we found one in eastern Oklahoma. The Health & Wellness Center, a health center with locations in Stigler, Eufaula, Checotah, Wilburton, Sallisaw, and Poteau, Ok, is now open for business for veterans [see local news article]. Health & Wellness the largest rural health center in the state, serving over 23,000 patients at seven locations in six different counties. In addition to offering affordable medical services, the health center also provides dental, mental health, optometry and pharmacy services. Now veterans can not only get care at the center, they will also have special designated parking spaces at the health center for easier access to services.
“It is an honor to serve the veterans in our area who have made the sacrifices for our country that enable us to live in a free country,” said Teresa Huggins, Chief Executive Officer The Health & Wellness Center, Inc. “We honor and respect these men and women, and hope that our gesture of remembrance reminds them of what they mean to us.”
Federal legislation passed last year is changing how veterans can access care in their local communities. Veterans who live more than 40 miles from a VA facility, or who are forced to wait more than 30 days for an appointment, can now be seen at a local health center. As a result, more health centers are reaching out to veterans who need easier access to care. The Health & Wellness Center is one of 400 Community Health Center organizations with a contract to serve veterans, according to estimates by the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC). More than 300,000 veterans depend on health centers for their care, a number that is expected to increase in the coming years.
Community Health Centers were launched 50 years ago as part of President Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty. Today, they serve over 24 million people, or 1 in 14 Americans, and save the U.S. healthcare system more than $24 billion a year through effective patient care that reduces the need for hospitalizations and emergency room visits.
To learn more about The Health & Wellness Center, please www.thwcinc.com