In response to a growing need for accessible health care for the indigent, uninsured and working poor in Carter, Johnston, Love, Marshall and Murray Counties in South Central Oklahoma, Dr. Thomas McCulloh established the Good Shepherd Community Clinic, Inc. in 1996. In the first year, volunteer physicians and non-medical volunteers provided health care to 85 patients during the Tuesday night free clinic which was located in a small rental house provided by the then named Mercy Memorial Hospital.
Through private donations, grants and local civic groups the clinic was able to expand services to include a dental program in 1996 under the direction of Dr. Jesse Storts, D.D.S. By the end of 1996, more than 580 patients had received medical and dental care. In 1997, Dr. John Barringer, O.D. joined the volunteer doctors and the optical program was added. An in-house pharmacy was added in 1998 which enabled the clinic’s volunteer team of doctors to prescribe affordable non-narcotic medications to economically disadvantaged patients.
What began as a one-night per week clinic with 85 patients has expanded into a four-day per week primary health care facility that provides quality care to about 4,000 underserved patients each year through the 14 member staff and about 50 volunteers including physicians, dentists, dental assistants, optometrists as well as various administrative personnel and students.
The GSCC in-house pharmacy through our Prescription Assistance Program, enables the clinic to provide more than 10,000 life sustaining, non-narcotic medications annually (primarily diabetic, COPD and hypertension medications) to patients who would otherwise do without.
The clinic occupies a 5,000 square foot prefabricated facility which houses five medical exam rooms, a medical lab, three dental exam rooms, a dental lab, a vision exam room, a pharmacy, eight staff offices and a patient waiting area with reception. The Good Shepherd Community Clinic, Inc. moved into the current facility in 2010. The clinic is ideally located both in an economically challenged part of the city as well as near other health care facilities, including Mercy Hospital Ardmore.
The Good Shepherd Community Clinic is a non-profit limited free clinic and the only clinic of its kind within a 100 mile radius. The clinic provides limited-free primary care to the uninsured, working poor and others who lack access to healthcare using a sliding fee scale based upon the patient’s documented income. The patients pay a small fee ($10-$30) based upon their household income which must fall at or below 200% of the US Poverty Guidelines; these program fees help to account for about 10% of our annual budget requirements.
The GSCC differs from surrounding clinics and Federally Qualified Heath Centers in that the clinic relies solely on grants and community donations to fund the programs and services offered and do not accept patients with any private or government insurance.
The GSCC is here to serve only those left in the gap of healthcare coverage. The clinic provides healthcare services through approximately 10,000 clinic visits annually to patients via staff and volunteer providers from Monday-Thursday 8am to 6pm. Patients have access to laboratory testing and can receive referrals for x-rays and other radiology services.
GSCC also offers women age 35 to 65 without insurance coverage access to our mammogram program. Over the past several years, hundreds of women have received mammograms with many requiring additional breast cancer screenings.