OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) – With growing healthcare needs of people with little money or no health insurance, federally-qualified community healthcare providers across Nebraska are in crisis.

One World Community Health Centers in Omaha provide a long list of clinical services, including medical, dental, and prenatal care.

“We are unfortunately not able to accommodate all the requests for appointments that we get for all the services we provide,” said Andrea Skolkin, the CEO of One World. “To do that, we need financial support.”

Skolkin tells 6 News that community health centers need to grow in order to handle the current patient load and to reach out to those who put off going to see a doctor.

“That creates a problem for people and they’ll delay going to the doctor for just routine things,” Skolkin said.

One World provides services to 50,000 people across the Omaha metro area and in Plattsmouth, Neb. The organization hopes to get more financial support from the unicameral.

The Health and Human Services Committee of the Nebraska Legislature heard from community healthcare providers from outside of the metro. Those groups told lawmakers the need is also growing in their area.

“Heartland Health Center is the newest center in the state located in Grand Island,” said Heartland Health Center CEO Tami Smith. “We were established in 2014. In the first year we saw 841 patients and last year we ended up serving 7,300.”

Smith says those growing numbers mean the need for more growth in community health care providers. In her area right now, there is a shortage of dentists.

“Our waitlist is well over 3,000 people,” Smith said. “I sadly watched nursing home patients ride in a van for two-plus hours from McCook nursing home to get dental services.”

Community healthcare providers across the state all need more workers, so officials are hoping this legislative meeting brings attention to the role the centers play in the state’s healthcare system.


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