, Muskogee, OK

Local News

May 10, 2011

Health center consolidation a matter of convenience

Three offices to combine into one

Ashley Hale said it will be easier to get prenatal care now that NeoHealth is consolidating its Tahlequah clinics.

The 22-year-old from Hulbert was in Tahlequah for a prenatal visit. She’s more than 36 weeks into her first pregnancy. Sarah Craig, a certified nurse midwife, was giving Hale a test at a NeoHealth location. Hale and Craig listened to the swishing sounds of a doppler fetal monitor.

Hale said NeoHealth moving its three Tahlequah offices into the Tahlequah Medical Center will be a big relief after her baby is born.

“I’ve gone with my older sister Amber when she has had to hop around town,” Hale said. “Her doctor sends her to Tahlequah City Hospital a lot. I’ve been to two of her pediatric visits. She has to put her son Nolan into the baby seat, and he was crying non-stop, then when she got to the appointment she had to get him out. Then she had to do the same thing all over again.”

By the time Hale has her daughter, the NeoHealth consolidation will be complete.

“Not going through what she went through will be wonderful,” she said.

NeoHealth is a nonprofit federally qualified health center that provides health care at a reduced rate. They receive supplemental funding from the federal government, and the remainder of their income is from patients who have insurance, or are on Medicare or Medicaid, or get federal money for health care because they meet federal poverty guidelines.

Tahlequah Medical Center is beside Tahlequah City Hospital, and NeoHealth has acquired some vacant land behind the structure that was approved for more medical building, said NeoHealth CEO Dr. Sharon Zang.

NeoHealth has two executive administrative offices in Hulbert, clinical locations in Hulbert, Westville and the three in Tahlequah. They see patients in Muskogee, Cherokee and Adair counties.

“All three of our Tahlequah locations have been renting space,” she said. “With this move, they will combine in this building. We have a continuum of care including family care, pediatrics, women’s health care, pain management, ear, nose and throat care, behavioral health and addiction treatment.”

Several doctors who had offices in the 25,000-square-foot two-story building at 1500 E. Downing St. will remain, Zang said. Others will move out as NeoHealth staff move in.

Craig said convenience has a big impact on efficient delivery of service.

“A family will be able to come in on any given day and have all their health care needs met during one visit to the clinic.”

Convenience also translates into quality of care, Craig said.

“For example, if a postpartum mom comes in and has to make an appointment and then come back for additional care, it adds to the stress factor,” she said. “We will be able to settle those fears, decrease the stress and have a good appointment. We’ll also be able to spend more time with them.”


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