SAPULPA, Okla. — Oklahoma's rate of uninsured patients continues to lag behind Texas with 14 percent of people without medical health insurance, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Some people, like Becky Barton from Sapulpa, say they don't see a doctor regularly because of the cost.
"Personally, I’ve had been having some issues for the last year, some female issues, and I knew something was wrong, but I couldn’t afford to go to a doctor," shares Barton.
When she heard a free medical clinic was opening in her hometown, she immediately paid a visit to get a routine checkup.
"She [doctor] was able to get me to the people I needed to get to, and in the process foundout I had endometrial cancer," says Barton.
She says timing was everything; the cancer hadn't yet spread.
"If I had waited another year or so, my story may be completely different," says Barton.
A simple physical at Cura Medical Clinic turned her life around. She's one of more than 200 patients who have come through the doors, since it opened in July of 2019.
"The majority of our patients are 40s, 50s, 60s working adults who are just having struggles to make ends meet when it comes to healthcare," says Dr. Zachary Fowler, one of the medical directors at Cura Medical Clinic.
The free services they provide include routine labs, physical checkups, medication refills and checking for high blood pressure.
Dr. Fowler says the need is high in Creek County, which is considered a medically underserved area by the Oklahoma State Department of Health. He hopes they expand in the future to a bigger facility, but they need money to accomplish that goal.
"We need definitely some funding for a nurse here. This way they can get the charts all ready before the physicians come in and this way maybe we can see a little more patients," explains Dr. TJ Trad, founder of Cura for the World.
He estimates about $50,000 to $100,000 are needed to hire a nurse and to expand to a larger space, but this isn't the only project for the nonprofit organization.
"We’re building a clinic in India, and currently we purchased land in Burundi," says Dr. Trad.
Cura for the World has health clinics in Peru, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda and Tanzania. Sapulpa's Cura Medical Clinic is the first one in the U.S.
"If we can prove proof of concept first here in Oklahoma, then we can replicate it with similar groups in other states," says Dr. Trad.
He says they hope to continue offering free medical services to patients in Sapulpa and internationally, but it'll require help from individual donors and organizations. Cura's 2020 Gala will be held on Saturday, March 28 at Southern Hills Country Club.
In the meantime, anyone interested in receiving medical care in Creek County can pay the clinic a visit on Tuesday evenings from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. It is first-come, first-serve.
Cura Medical Clinic is located on 1012 W Taft St, Sapulpa.