CHC wants county to honor health care pact

June 2, 2011

The head of the local Community Health Centers (CHC) is mounting an aggressive campaign to secure adequate funding from the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors to maintain the “health care safety net” for low-income families and individuals.

Ron Castle, who has headed up the CHC locally since 1978 is concerned that the new county budget will once again cut CHC funding by as much as $3 million.

There are currently 17 CHC clinics through San Luis Obispo County.

According to Castle, CHC contracted with San Luis Obispo County in 2004 to provide medical care for more than 20,000 patients after General Hospital closed. In 2010, CHC provided 335,846 clinic visits for nearly 75,000 patients–nearly double the patient load from 2004–almost one-third of whom were uninsured patients.

Meanwhile Jeff Hamm, head of the county Public Health Agency has cut back funding for CHC by nearly 50 percent since the original 2004 agreement. Castle says there is currently a $3 million shortfall in his budget—he is asking county supervisors to allocate half that amount to keep the program afloat at its current level of service. Otherwise, Castle warns, as many as 6,000 low-income, uninsured residents will likely lose access to medical care.

“When the County closed General Hospital in 2003, there were assurances that access to care would be maintained,” said Kena Burke, CHC spokesperson. “It was recommended that the millions of dollars saved by not having a public hospital be put back into health care services for those in need. Instead, those funds are being re-directed into balancing the county budget.”

The supervisors are scheduled to hold budget discussions in mid-June.

 


10 Comments

  1. esteroboy says:

    Don’t like funding CHC?
    Then pony up the money for emergency-room non-payments.
    Because that’s about your choice.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  2. Typoqueen says:

    In your last paragraph, are you saying that people that need help financially for medical care are aren’t honest, hard working or have integrity? I understand that on days like this I’m very busy and might get things wrong so perhaps you can explain that one for me.

    What is ‘your own’? Geez, I hate that term, it as such a racist tone to it but I’m sure that’s not what you mean. My own are humans first and all other living things second. You aren’t taking care of ‘your own’ if you are allowing those that aren’t ‘your own’ to get medical care. Personally, I don’t want my child getting an infectious disease from a child that can’t get medical care because you are trying to take care of your own, guess we have different ideas on how to care for children. Lets say your daughter is in the same bathroom or classroom as another child that can’t get medical care, the difference between you and me is that I don’t want to leave my children open to catching other peoples diseases and I don’t want to pay the large hospital bills to pay for other people. The cons would rather pay more money by forcing people to use emergency rooms as well clog up the emergency rooms with people with ailments like strep throat, immunizations or things that can be handled at a doctors office. Some cons would rather cut off their nose to spite their faces, it makes no sense. But my goodness, just why on earth would anyone want any child to not receive medical care simply because of their citizenship/color? ALL humans deserve and have a RIGHT to medical care, we aren’t a 3rd world country yet and if left to the libs then we won’t become one.

    typed fast excuse typos.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 5

    • Typoqueen says:

      opps that post was directed to r0y’s last post.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3

    • r0y says:

      No, typo, I must have not been very clear (apologies): what I said was:
      However, providing a safety net always seems to lead to a safety blanket. There is a big difference, and we’re not any less humane for wanting one (safety net) and not wanting the other (safety blanket). One is possible with diligence, hard work, honesty and integrity. The other is possible with dreams and aspirations: noble intent, but impossible to fulfill.
      Whereas I mean to say that providing a safety net – and ONLY a safety net (not a safety BLANKET) – is achievable if we, as a society, work diligently, honestly and with integrity.

      As for the “your own” I said:
      I believe you might be misunderstanding conservatism cum libertarianism: it is not that if we don’t pay now, we’ll pay more later – it’s more of a take care of your own and limit the amount that fall through the cracks.
      Whereas “your own” refer to your immediate family and friends; inner circle & outer circle, if you will. Besides, no matter what care one has, children will always catch diseases from one another – that is part of life and is unavoidable! However, I can see what you’re trying to say – and I think we’re approaching the same issue from different roads.

      However, when you say:
      The cons would rather pay more money by forcing people to use emergency rooms as well clog up the emergency rooms with people with ailments like strep throat, immunizations or things that can be handled at a doctors office. Some cons would rather cut off their nose to spite their faces, it makes no sense.
      It sure doesn’t sound like any “cons” I’ve ever met. I don’t know anyone who wants to force anyone to use the emergency room. Are these the same “cons” you infer two sentences later to “want any child to not receive medical care simply because of their citizenship/color?” That got confusing.

      Maybe it was all the ingrained code words: children, racism, citizenship, color, cons, etc. Our society is inundated with them (especially the media); I’m not saying it to you personally, as we’re not all without guilt here. Rather, we’re trained from early on to react to certain words and combinations of them; I just see them interjected where they were not before and flags go up.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 4

  3. liberalgirl says:

    While it can be a total pain to try to get in to see a doctor at CHC, they do give very good health care. Give them the money they need to keep functioning.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 11

    • r0y says:

      Spoken true to your moniker! “Give them the money” – ok, hand me your wallet and I will!

      Look, we’re in financial dire straits – the entire County and each of the cities and CSD’s, this isn’t about wanting to hurt people, but if nothing is there to give, then there is nothing to give. There are a lot of funds taken in from taxes in this County, the problem lies in managing the spending.

      Now, it’s no secret that employee payroll is the biggest drain on those taxes taken in, which leaves MUCH less for programs like CHC and others who wish to act as a safety net for some.

      I’d like to see a complete tort reform as far as clinics and certain medical/treatment centers go, I think that would reduce their costs incredibly, thus stretching whatever few dollars they get. But the odds of any meaningful tort reform happening is slightly less than getting public employee unions to go away.

      Again, it is tough for all non-profits and public service agencies; and they are all clamoring to be “too important to cut” – they see the writing on the walls, they’re no dummies.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 4

      • Typoqueen says:

        What the right fails to see is that if you don’t pay now then you will pay later and you will pay big time if you don’t provide medical care. First, you don’t want an unhealthy population. an unhealthy population hurts the economy more than what it costs to fund medical care such as care provided by the CHC. Secondly, those that do choose to get medical care will simply go to emergency rooms for care which costs much much more than visiting a CHC and it makes it difficult for those that are there for true emergencies. But my main concern is that we have a healthy productive population. Do we want to have outbreaks of TB or other preventable medical issues that can effect all of us physically and financially? I don’t, I would rather do what it takes to make our country healthy. We do know that preventative health care is much cheaper than not utilizing preventative health care.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 11

        • r0y says:

          I believe you might be misunderstanding conservatism cum libertarianism: it is not that if we don’t pay now, we’ll pay more later – it’s more of a take care of your own and limit the amount that fall through the cracks.

          However, providing a safety net always seems to lead to a safety blanket. There is a big difference, and we’re not any less humane for wanting one (safety net) and not wanting the other (safety blanket). One is possible with diligence, hard work, honesty and integrity. The other is possible with dreams and aspirations: noble intent, but impossible to fulfill.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 4

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