ST PAUL, Minn. — Tossing healthy eating out the window is not an option for everyone.

Especially for diabetics.

And for the first time this year, one group is helping people manage and get the treatment they need for diabetes. 

And Dr. Ritesh Patel wants to make a lasting impression.

He and his team from Open Cities Health Center are providing free blood glucose screenings at Health Fair 11 at the Minnesota State Fair. One glucose screening can help target high blood sugar. It can also help people prevent or delay the effects of diabetes. For this simple test, fasting is recommended for the most accurate results but not required.

“It is just a guide to show where you are right now. We want to help, that is all. Regardless of your ability to pay. We want our communities to be healthy,” Patel said “Health care isn't a privilege it is a right.”

Sunday there was an insulin for all rally in Edina -- a movement pushing to lower the cost of insulin. It's a crisis Patel, also the medical director for OCHC, is watching closely.

Open Cities is also letting folks here know about alternative payment plans and sharing ways to manage diabetes. Sunday there was an insulin for all rally -- a movement pushing to lower the cost of insulin.

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It's a crisis Patel is watching closely.

“It makes no sense for us to prescribe insulin or any other hypoglycemic drug. If they can’t afford it, they won’t take it,” he said. “I recommend to all my patients. Half a plate of veggies, quarter plate of proteins and a quarter of carbs.

Dr. Patel said they hope to reach people who may never step foot in a clinic. OCHC’s care coordinators manage dedicated patient care teams and maintain ongoing relationships. In addition, their health navigators work 1:1 with community members and patients to provide support services, case management, MNSure enrollment, and follow-up support.

OCHC’s emphasis on mission-oriented adaptability makes us a trusted, effective nonprofit community health center. As OCHC continues to grow and provide affordable, culturally tailored programs and services, it remains true to the stewardship of its original founders who wanted to create justice and equality through healthcare.

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