The patient base for a major nonprofit clinic in Central Oklahoma serving American Indians has grown tremendously over its 43 years of existence.
“We started out with volunteer doctors and staff, and then we grew into a clinic that has about 165 employees, and we see about 20,000 patients a year,” said David Toahty, Oklahoma City Indian Clinic’s (OKCIC) chief development officer, who oversees community outreach, community development and fundraising for the clinic.
Five years ago, OKCIC launched a $2 million CARES Capital Campaign to expand its pharmacy. “We are very, very close to meeting our goal — within a few days,” Toahty said.
Currently, OKCIC pharmacy staff fills more than 240,000 prescriptions in its 900-square-foot workplace. “We’re working out of a pharmacy not much bigger than a lot of people’s living room,” Toahty said.
To serve more patients, the clinic has been raising $2 million in funds over the course of five years for a 7,000-square-foot pharmacy that will give staff the capacity to fill between 400,000 and 500,000 prescriptions a year, hold workshops and seminars, provide confidential patient consultation, and offer an expedient and convenient pharmacy drive-through.
OKCIC plans to break ground later this year, and have the pharmacy up and running by 2018.
“We have different types of programs and classes that we offer our patients, including a Hepatitis C clinic and a blood coagulation clinic — people need to be educated on what to expect from their blood thinners,” Toahty said. “A flu clinic will offer flu shots year-round.”
The new pharmacy will include a room specially designed for pediatric patients, offering immunizations and medication demonstrations, including asthma and other childhood illness medications. “About 20 percent of our patients are under 18 years old,” Toahty said.
The $2 million CARES Capital Campaign recently received a healthy boost of $80,000 via a Healthy Kids, Healthy Families grant from Blue Cross Blue Shield in December of 2016.
Other substantial support came from the Sardis Foundation, Mabee Foundation, INTRUST Bank, Oklahoma Kidz Charities Foundation, Aetna Foundation, Kerr Family Foundation, and several tribes: Chickasaw Nation, Choctaw Nation, Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma and the Delaware Nation.
The clinic’s annual Red Feather Gala, generally held in November and featuring live and silent auctions, provides a major source of funding as well. “As many as 14 different tribes have come to support it. It’s been really great to bring everyone together for one cause that is really so important to Indian people in Central Oklahoma,” Toahty said.
Actor Mark Harmon also visits Oklahoma City each spring or summer — this year on June 23-24 — to help raise money for OKCIC’s Harmon-y Pediatric Clinic, as well as the pediatric room in the expanded pharmacy area.
OKCIC offers several types of services under one roof, including optometry, dental and behavioral health. Its two clinic locations operate about 1,000 feet away from each other, across the street. OKCIC is adding sidewalks to make the buildings more accessible by foot. For now, patients generally shuttle between locations via bus when necessary.
The new pharmacy drive-through will also make visits more convenient. “A lot of the people that come in here are families, bringing their children with them to get medicines,” Toahty said. “We try to make it as easy for them to go through the drive-through, if they have car.
“One of the biggest barriers we face is reliable transportation, so we’re also right on the bus line,” Toahty added about the clinic, located in the heart of Oklahoma City at W Reno Ave and S Meridian Ave.