Nov. 13, 2012
Morningcrest Healthcare Foundation Awards Grant to OSU-CHS for Eye Care Services
The Morningcrest Healthcare Foundation has awarded a grant to the Oklahoma State University Center for Health to provide free specialty eye care services and surgery to indigent populations in Tulsa.
"We are pleased to be able to partner with the Morningcrest Healthcare Foundation to address the eye care needs of the poor and uninsured in Tulsa," said Howard Barnett, president of OSU-Tulsa and OSU Center for Health Sciences. "The project is another example of OSU-CHS providing critical serves for underserved populations in Oklahoma."
The $92,488.91 grant will be used to purchase ophthalmological equipment for use in the treatment of eye conditions on patients referred to OSU-CHS by Good Samaritan Health Services. The equipment will assist with the diagnosis of vascular disorders, including retinal disease, macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, inflammatory intraocular conditions and intraocular tumors.
"Individuals with acute diseases, such as hypertension and diabetes, often develop eye complications that become severe and can lead to loss of sight," said Dr. Kayse Shrum, OSU-CHS provost and dean of the OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine. "If symptoms of eye disease are detected early with a retinal exam, a patient's optical health can be treated and saved."
Good Samaritan Health Services, which operates several state-of-the-art mobile medical units to provide free medical care to poor and underserved populations in Tulsa, has partnered with OSU-CHS to provide patient referrals to Dr. Timothy Frink, clinical assistant professor of surgery – ophthalmology for treatment.
Greg Foland, executive director of the Morningcrest Healthcare Foundation, said the organization chose to fund the project because it fit well with the foundation's overall mission to support continuous improvement of the health status of Tulsa residents.
"Previously Good Samaritan Health Services could provide eye screenings at their mobile medical van outreach clinics, however they lacked a referral partner who could provide treatment to those patients suffering from diabetic retinopathy and other ophthalmologic diseases," said Foland. "By funding the equipment for OSU-CHS, we not only provide the ability to treat these cases, but we also assist in the training of physicians. Collaborating with multiple organizations like OSU-CHS and GSHS allows us to pool our resources to accomplish more than one goal."
Frink and OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine students and ophthalmology residents will provide eye care for patients. Frink said the partnership would provide a valuable learning experience for students and residents, while also providing an essential service in Tulsa.
"The uninsured typically cannot afford ophthalmology services, putting them at risk of developing severe complications, including blindness, that in most cases are avoidable," said Frink. "Our collaboration with Good Samaritan Health Services will provide these services completely free for those in need, saving many from severe to total vision loss."
With the new equipment, Frink will be able to treat more than 5,000 patients a year through referrals from Good Samaritan Health Services and the OSU Physicians Clinics. The program is scheduled to start serving patients in January 2013.