The public is being invited to attend and perhaps more importantly, to participate in, the upcoming forum to discuss "Do We Need a Safety Net Clinic?" The meeting is scheduled to be held on Wednesday in the large conference room of the Crook County Library in Prineville.
>The local hospital will host a forum to discuss the potential for a low income clinic in Prineville
According to Pioneer Memorial Hospital sources, there currently are no `safety net clinics' in Central Oregon. A safety net clinic is commonly created in communities to help provide health care for low-income, uninsured or under-insured residents. Fees to patients for services are based on level of income.
The open-ended discussion will begin at 4 p.m., and will focus on the need for such a clinic. "We want people to voice their opinions and to share their personal experiences," states moderator Sharry Fassett, CNRA, MS, Pioneer Memorial Hospital. Fassett will be assisted by Toby Keys.
Keys, an Oregon State University graduate student, is living in Prineville this summer while he works to complete a Community Needs Assessment for the Hospital, and the community. Both Keys and Fassett are involved in the Multicultural Outreach Program at PMH.
In addition to issues addressed at the public forum on Wednesday, Keys will include the results of the individual interviews he conducts with local health professionals in the public and the private sectors, and with the public at-large.
The Outreach Program was the recipient of a $12,250 grant earlier this year awarded by the Oregon Community Foundation. The completion of the assessment is one step towards fulfilling the grant's requirements.
The assessment also dovetails nicely with Keys' master's thesis. He indicated that he is studying the barriers Oregon's Hispanic population experiences under the Oregon Health Plan. He works with Sunil Khanna, Ph.D., OSU Department of Anthropology.
After earning his bachelor's degree, Keys spent two years living in Brazil, teaching English as a second language while he worked on a research project involving the indigenous peoples' struggle against HIV/AIDS. "I wanted to continue working with Spanish speaking people, and this study is the ideal way for me to continue to help," he explained.
"I certainly hope people will come help us take the community pulse on this issue," Don Wee, executive director of Pioneer Memorial Hospital added. "We need community input to help us continue our mission to provide Prineville and Crook County residents the personal health care they need."