Healthcare help for Texoma

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DENISON, TX -- Helping people without health insurance might be at the top of Washington's list, but it's also a big priority for a Texoma clinic, and relief is on the way for those who can't afford medical care or insurance. First News’ newest reporter Maddie Garrett has more.

The Greater Texoma Health Clinic is working around the clock to offer more services to people in Grayson County. We talked with clinic staff and CEO about how they hope to improve healthcare in Texoma.

"We are closer than ever before to the reform that the American people need and we're going to get the job done."

That was President Obama's message on healthcare reform only a few days ago.
But at the Greater Texoma Health Clinic in Denison, change is already on the way.

"We will find a way that we can try to provide more help to more people," physician’s assistant Jason Montague says.

Part of that help will be from the addition of Medicaid services. Medicaid patients will no longer have to travel out of Grayson County or go to the emergency room for treatment.

"You know our mission was always to serve, initially to serve the uninsured. And so now we're just expanding that mission," CEO Linda Bryant says.

But that's not all the health clinic is doing to reach out.

They are also working to become a federally qualified health clinic. This means more money, more doctors, and more patients with access medical care.

With the addition of federal funding the clinic will be able to turn empty spaces into fully functioning exam rooms.

"I think it fulfills what we started out doing several years ago. It's progress, and it's progress that helps the community," Bryant says.

Federal qualification would mean significant changes for the clinic. Currently the clinic has only seven staff members. That number would double almost immediately. Along with more doctors and nurses the clinic will be able to treat thousands more uninsured and under-served patients.

It’s why Jason Montague finds his work at the clinic rewarding.

"This is one of the few places where I have been where the patients often times tears almost come to their eyes. They are so grateful that someone can help them."

Right now the clinic has about 3,000 patient visits a year, but with the planned expansions, they expect that number to increase to over 13,000, and the clinic staff said they are very excited about the progress.

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