Great Salt Plains Health Center, Inc.
Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC)
On September 3, 2007, the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced plans to award grant funding to Great Salt Plains Health Center for the development of a community health center. The $600,000 grant is bringing affordable comprehensive primary, oral and behavioral health care to the residents of Cherokee and Alfalfa County as well as the surrounding area. Section 330 community health centers (CHCs) began as part of LBJ’s Great Society Program in 1966. The public-private partnerships help communities establish a preventive health care system that works for their unique situation and serves all residents including the uninsured.
Four core tenets of the CHC program are that (1) federal resources be targeted to communities with the most significant health care access needs, (2) services be made available to all residents regardless of ability to pay based on a sliding fee scale tied to income, (3) services include preventive and primary health care, enabling (transportation and translation) and health education, and (4) health centers must be directed by a governing board of which 51% are patients of the center to ensure they be responsive to the needs in their communities.
Great Salt Plains Health Center competed nationally for the grant funding under the Presidential Initiative to Expand Health Centers. A limited number of applications were funded in this highly competitive process. 330 funding is not ‘seed money’ but rather recurs annually as long as comprehensive services are being effectively provided to the community. For more information about the 330 CHC program, visit www.okpca.org.
Alfalfa County is known as the "Great Salt Plains." The Salt Plains is created when the ground water below travels through the salt-saturated sand and comes to the surface where it evaporates and leaves a crust of salt. The only other natural land formation of this type is the Great Salt Lake in Utah. The Great Salt Plains is considered one of Oklahoma's most fascinating natural wonders. Each year international, state and local visitors travel to this area either by tourist buses or by single auto means. Hence, the reason the communities of this county chose the name of this historical landmark to be associated with the Community Health Center.