Comanche County Memorial Hospital’s newest Lawton Community Health Care clinic is addressing an underserved area, hospital officials said.
Memorial Hospital held a grand opening for its Southcare clinic at 513 W. Lee Thursday, in preparation for formal delivery of health care services that will begin Monday, said Clinic Supervisor Chelsea Davidson. It’s a project that has been two years in the making, said Sean McAvoy, Comanche County Memorial Hospital executive director, and one that comes almost a year to the day after ground was broken on the tract donated by the Buddy Green family.
McAvoy said Southcare is Memorial Hospital’s 22nd community clinic, and the first one opened in Lawton in several years.
Dr. Mark Cotton, family medicine specialist, will be the clinic’s sole practitioner when the clinic opens Monday, but McAvoy and Davison said the plan is to bring two other health care professionals skilled in family medicine on board as quickly as possible. SouthClinic will be a facility that offers a full range of services for child to adult patients, from lab testing and general health care, to specialized testing such as that associated with women’s health. Vaccines will be offered in coming months.
“It’s a big advantage to the under-served,” McAvoy said, of the decided lack of care options in that area of Lawton, despite several adjacent neighborhoods that could benefit.
Davidson said the closest clinic to that West Lee location is in east Lawton. While the Lee Boulevard site will be served by more than one transportation option, it also is within walking distance of many residents, Davidson and McAvoy said. Davidson said she’s excited about the possibility of serving those residents who now are decidedly underserved.
There are lots of patients,” she said of the conveniently located clinic, adding options now are west and east Lawton. “There’s nothing in between.”
That service area was a deciding factor in the clinic’s placement. Funding for the project came, in part, from $784,515 in American Rescue Plan Act funding allocated to community health clinics in 2021. Comanche County Memorial Hospital already had been looking for a location in southeast Lawton, while ARPA funding was specifically designed to provide primary health care options to medically-underserved communities. While the clinic will provide medical service to everyone, it will have mechanisms in place to provide care for the uninsured.
The clinic is designed with enough space to house three primary care providers. McAvoy predicted two other professionals — Dr. Valerie Robinson and Elena Ketner, advanced practice registered nurse — will be brought aboard in the next six to eight weeks, meaning clinic hours now set for 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. can be expanded as staff is expanded.
McAvoy said Memorial Hospital was deliberate in its selection of the site because the community the clinic will serve.
“People want it open,” he said, of community feedback.