Ribbon-cutting christens OCH Newton County Clinic

Rural health clinic hopes to expand services to serve more patients

NEOSHO, Mo. – Between January 1, 2010 and March 19, 2019, 102 rural hospitals closed.

Most of those closures took place in southern states. That’s according to research from the North Carolina Rural Health Research Program.

Despite these numbers, Ozarks Community Hospital is celebrating the success of it’s 12th rural health clinic with a ribbon cutting in Neosho, Missouri.

“Serving the under served.” That’s the goal for members of the OCH Newton County Clinic, caring for 300 – 400 patients per month.

“We see a lot of people that kinda slip through the cracks. They make too much for Medicaid. They don’t make enough to have insurance and therefore they don’t get health care, and that is our target market,” explained Jeanette Gallemore, OCH Newton County Clinic Manager.

“On a daily basis we have at least one, or two, sometimes most of our patients in a day haven’t been to a doctor, and a lot of them, even if they have been to a doctor, it’s been over a year since they’ve been seen,” observed Angela Williams, a nurse practitioner.

The clinic provides services like well child exams, annual wellness checks and diabetic care.

“It’s very important. If you can maintain your wellness, you can prevent illness. So, it’s really important to go at least annually for a checkup so that we can do lab work and monitor your blood pressure so that when you do get ill, it doesn’t become a major illness,” said Williams.

Many patients are on a fixed income so OCH provides a self-pay discount along with subsidized medical care to help with the cost.

“There are programs that we have that they can apply for that is based on income to pay bills and, yes, we do set up payment plans for them, if they need,” Gallemore stated.

Dr. Sweeten’s clinic merged with OCH last year, opening its doors to the public as a rural health clinic on October 1, but now it’s christening the beginning of what it hopes will be a bright future with a ribbon cutting.

“We don’t give up. We have a mission and we care about those patients and I think that that concern, that compassion, is what keeps us going,” said Gallemore.

The OCH Health System is a tri-state, safety-net healthcare provider headquartered in Gravette, Arkansas.

It serves both urban and rural communities throughout the Ozarks with clinics in Southwest Missouri, Northwest Arkansas and Northeast Oklahoma.