Federally funded clinic hits snag

by C.F. David

by C.F. David

Planned attempts to develop a Federal Health Center have seemingly hit a snag... Cimarron county apparently doesn't have enough residents.

On Oct. 17, Michael Brown and others from the Oklahoma State Department of Health came and discussed the possibility. However, last week clinic manager Tammy Avent received word that Brown has decided that Cimarron County doesn't have enough residents to qualify, and suggested that perhaps Cimarron and Texas counties share the clinic. This suggestion was made more than a year ago when Texas County tried a similar clinic and learned that they didn't qualify as an under served area, (a qualification Cimarron County meets because of its diversity and low population).

However if the counties shared the clinics there would need to be two doctors each and two mid-levels, (Nurse Practitioners and or Physican Assistant) the existence of two clinics would be cost prohibitive and quickly devour all grant money.

Oddly enough, Brown, while addressing a cross-section of Cimarron County citizens on October 17, seemed very cognizant of exactly what the county population was and its diversity in age and race.

Avent quoted Lana Schaffer of Turning Point as having said that she felt as if, the county had been “Fed to the dogs.”

“I'm very upset,” Avent said.

Asked by the Cimarron Memorial Hospital Board for her opinion, Avent said, “I think we can go ahead and do it and get $400 thousand, (compared to $650 thousand with the usual Federal Grant). “But, if we try the look alike, there'll be no money and no support, (doctor recruiting), for the clinic,” Avent said.

Avent also explained that Dr. Yoga was working on weekends trying to give Dr. Wheeler some relief. “We absolutely have to get another physican in here,” she added.

Board Chairman Ralph Warren looked at the hospital employees in attendance, “I appreciate what you did to promote the hospital bond issue,” he said.

Warren asked CFO/CEO Kevin Conner his opinion of the administrator from the Guymon hospital to review Cimarron Memorial and to give suggestions.

Conner answered that he was curious to Guymon's motivation to offer help.

Hospital employee Marlene Clifton asked if the board had considered contacting the Quorum Group about management. This management team manages the Springfield , Colo. . hospital.

‘They did Lamar's [ Colorado ] Hospital a lot of good,” said Director of nurses Dilieah Myers.

The board and attendees adjourned to Conner's office to hear suggestions from Dave Pryok, a hospital CEO once considered for Cimarron Memorial.

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