Making a Positive Difference: The Community Health Center as a Force for Good

By: Carl I. Walters II, Chief Executive Officer, Outpatient Medical Center Inc.

I am often asked why I chose to pursue a career working in Federally Qualified Health Centers. I made this career choice because I find the mission, vision and community service commitment of Federally Qualified Health Centers to be perfectly aligned with my morals, values, spiritual convictions and selfless leadership community service commitment.

In fact, I don’t see working as the Chief Executive Officer of a Community Health Center as a job; but rather a part of my spiritual ministry journey.

Coming from a family of distinguished military officers and myself serving as a United States Naval Officer (Medical Service Corp Officer); when I came off of active duty in 1991; I found myself wondering “what’s next?” as far as my career was concerned. I had spent three years on active duty running multi-million dollar medical clinics in the Navy; even being afforded the opportunity to serve as the Commanding Officer of two Batallion medical clinics – and I loved these jobs.

I loved the idea of being there to help people when they needed help the most.

Long story short, it was Federally Qualified Health Centers that propelled my Executive C-suite career and the rest, as they say, is history.

To date, I have had the distinct pleasure of serving as the Chief Executive Officer of six multi-million dollar, multi-site Federally Qualified Health Centers and I have loved and thoroughly enjoyed every challenge and experience associated with these opportunities.

Let me give you 10 reasons why working in a Federally Qualified Health Center is so uniquely and richly rewarding:

You can see firsthand how your health center services are making a positive difference in the lives of the community – every day.
You can see firsthand how your health center services are helping to employ people from the local community – every day.
You can see firsthand the social equality impact your health center services are making within the community every day.
You become exceptionally prudent at leveraging your limited dollars to have the greatest community impact elevating the social, health and economic condition of your community.
You have the opportunity to work with and lead wonderful, gifted, dedicated and compassionate health center staff committed to positively touching the lives of your valued patients.
You have the privilege of having your patients as the Board governing body of the health system. The Community Health Center Model is one that was built for the people; on the serves the people and is governed by the people it serves.
You see the gratification in your patients’ eyes knowing they are in good hands when you walk by them to say good morning/afternoon to them.
You get to see the compassionate manner with which your dedicated staff care for your patients every day.
You know that if your health center wasn’t there thousands of families would have nowhere to go to receive cost-effective, culturally sensitive and compassionate healthcare services.
You get to go home every day knowing because you care; because your dedicated staff care – you truly make a positive difference in the lives of the patients you’re privileged to care for.
This is the community service mission of our 35 statewide Community Health Centers (who collectively pump almost half a billion dollars into our state’s economic engine annually) – to improve the health, well-being, social and economic condition of the state communities we are privileged to be in.

I close encouraging everyone who reads this blog post to be proud of your Community Health Center; to actively support your Community Health Center – because when you do you help keep your family and you healthy; your community healthy; provide jobs for your community and strengthen your community. And from where I sit, this is what every Federally Qualified Health Center across the nation/state does – make a positive difference in the lives of valued community families we are privileged to care for.

Be well; be informed; be healthy and be in touch.

About the Author

Carl I. Walters II currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer of Outpatient Medical Center Inc. (OMC). He has been in healthcare operations for close to 30 years, the majority of which has been in Executive leadership roles. He holds a B.S. degree in Hospital Administration from Weber State University in Ogden, Utah and a Masters of Arts degree in Organizational Management from the University of Phoenix in Ogden, Utah. He has been recognized at the state and federal level for his health system turnaround expertise. He is also a former United States Naval Officer with command experience.

Outpatient Medical Center Inc. (OMC) operates four health centers located in Natchitoches, Leesville and Tallulah. OMC provides family medical care, dental care, behavioral health services, and pharmacy services. They employ close to 100 employees and operate off a $7 million (and growing) operating budget. They are PCMH Level 2 recognized and The Joint Commission accredited.

Visit our website at http://www.outpatientmedical.org.

Now offering Nexplanon insertion and removal.

OMC is dedicated to providing everyone with the highest quality healthcare possible. Because of that, we accept Medicare, Medicaid, Verity Health Plan, commercial insurance, and non-insurance patients. We also offer Certified Medicare Counseling through our SHIIP programs for any our of our Medicare patients who may have concerns about their benefits and Substance Abuse Counseling for our patients who struggle with addiction.

OMC is now accepting new patients and welcomes active duty, reserve, retired military Veterans and their families.

Natchitoches: 1640 Breazeale Springs St., Natchitoches, LA 71457 1-800-268-5872

Leesville: 1603 B Boone St., Leesville, LA 71446 1-800-308-7569

Tallulah: 804 Beech St., Tallulah, LA 1-800-308-7566