Serving the Norman, Noble, Blanchard, Purcell and South Moore areas, Karnes said that the facility has a misnomer of being a medical facility strictly for the homeless.
“The vast majority are individuals that are working. If you’ve eaten at any restaurant on this street, you’ve been served by one of our clients. And most of the grocery chains, too,” Karnes said.
Lisa Schmidt, fund development manager for Health For Friends, adds that most of the clients at Health for Friends are working more than one job.
“Most of them do have kids. They are people who have been coming for awhile,” Schmidt said. “There is research that shows that there is a large percentage of people on Medicaid that don’t seek medical care. They really don’t know what’s available. So we are really trying to make sure anyone who works with people that may be on Medicaid or SoonerCare know that we are providing care and taking patients. There are a lot of people who need help.”
Karnes and Schmidt know that Health for Friends is an asset to the community. They are also both holding out hope that Fallin will change her mind and decide to accept the Medicaid expansion package.
“There is a need for us now, and there will continue to be whether she accepts that expansion or not. As we do now, we would continue to rely heavily on grants, donations and the generosity of individuals in our community. One of the unfortunate aspects is a lot of the grants seemed to have shifted away from providing indigent care because the grantors feel for the most part that is taken care of now. So those are getting harder to find,” Karnes said.
Karnes adds that if he had additional revenue and expanding services, he would be able to offer more jobs that would impact the community economically.