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FOR RELEASE: September 8 , 2005
CONTACT: Pamela Williams
Office of Communications
405/271-5601

State Health Commissioner Designates Two Evacuee Sites as “Free Clinics”

As of Wednesday, Sept. 7, the Oklahoma Commissioner of Health, Dr. Michael Crutcher, had designated two sites in Oklahoma as “Free Clinics” to help facilitate relief efforts for persons coming into Oklahoma as a result of Hurricane Katrina.

Under the Volunteer Medical Professional Services Immunity Act (63 O.S. Supp. 2004, Section 32), the designation of “Free Clinic” allows for any volunteer medical professional giving medical services without compensation at these designated sites to be protected by the state from liability.

According to state health officials, the two “Free Clinic” sites in Oklahoma identified to temporarily house and provide humanitarian services to displaced Hurricane victims are Camp Gruber National Guard Facility near Muskogee and the Falls Creek Camp area near Davis.

“I am designating that all medical treatment facilities or clinics within these two locations are ‘Free Clinics,’ which will allow for the medical treatment not only of injuries which occurred during the hurricane, but also pre-existing medical conditions requiring ongoing treatment,” Dr. Crutcher said.

State health officials hope this designation will encourage more medical professionals to volunteer through the Oklahoma Medical Reserve Corps to provide medical treatment at these sites. Those health professionals who wish to volunteer can contact the Medical Reserve Corps at 1-866-336-5672 or visit their Web site at www.okmrc.org.

On Sept. 2, 2005, Gov. Brad Henry declared a State of Emergency in Oklahoma to aid relief efforts to those persons coming into Oklahoma because of the devastation by Hurricane Katrina. After consultation with the Governor’s Office, the State Health Commissioner issued this Order to assist in those efforts.

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