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Archive for Friday, July 14, 2006

Clinic for uninsured losing $38K

Health Care Access seeking funds to offset KDHE cut

July 14, 2006

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Groceries or health care.

That's a choice that Nikki King, executive director of Lawrence's Health Care Access, hopes her patients don't have to make. But it may be more likely because the city's largest clinic for the uninsured is losing nearly $40,000 in state funding.

"It definitely was a surprise and a disappointment," King said of the $38,000 cut in funding the clinic receives from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

The clinic, 1920 Moodie Road, is seeking $10,000 in additional funding from both the city and the county to help offset the loss.

King said if the money isn't restored the clinic may have to abandon its longtime policy of seeking only a $10 donation for care it provides to its nearly 1,200 patients per year.

Instead, it may have to implement a sliding scale payment system that would charge patients set fees. Currently, the clinic doesn't turn anyone away who fails to pay.

The news was troubling to patients waiting to be seen Thursday.

"I don't have insurance of any kind," said Carolyn Hussey, who is not yet eligible for Medicare or Medicaid but is unable to work because of health problems. "If it wasn't for this clinic, I wouldn't be able to go to the doctor at all. If it wasn't for them, I would just have to sit at home and suffer."

Whether city and county governments will be able to help the clinic make up the shortfall is uncertain. The request for additional funding is coming toward the end of both commissions' budget processes for 2007.

City Commissioner Sue Hack said she was leaning toward supporting the funding request.

"It does tremendous work and saves the community money on health care costs in the long run," Hack said. "To me, this really is a critical community service issue."

City Commissioner Mike Rundle said he agreed the clinic saved the community money by keeping uninsured patients out of the emergency room. But he said finding extra money in the city's tight budget could be difficult.

"I'm not willing to say yet that I'm supportive of an increase in funding because it could mean that we would have to cut someone else," Rundle said.

Sharon Watson, a spokeswoman with KDHE, said the Lawrence clinic was one of three - with the others in Sedgwick and Riley counties - that had their grants cut.

Watson said the state received $5 million in grant requests but had only $3.25 million to distribute. Also, the Legislature during its last session instructed the KDHE to use the money to increase the number of clinics operating in the state. As a result, the department divided the money among 24 clinics, when it previously had been divided among 15, Watson said.

The $38,000 cut represents about 10 percent of Health Care Access' $323,000 annual budget. The clinic raises about $150,000 per year from the private sector, and last year received about $700,000 worth of medication donated through pharmaceutical companies.

Comments

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 7 months ago

You could have all just as well, with no loss in meaningful content, said, "Filbert!"

countrygirl 8 years, 7 months ago

Have you ever seen the shelves of the food pantries at the end of the month? I help with food drives that Pearson has for ECKAN every couple of months, and their shelves get pretty bare when the end of the month rolls around. If they don't have food to share, people have to try to come up with something to eat on their own, and sometimes that means some pretty tough choices.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 7 months ago

But anyone reading this forum could easily sustain themselves by all the potential "Filbert!" posts, if only they were to replace all of the vacuous verbosity so prevalent here.

cutny 8 years, 7 months ago

Geezus, get over the roundabouts already. You sound like a bunch bumpkins that would've talked sh*t about the invention of the automobile. Here's a tip. You drive around the roundabouts. You slow down when you do so. Got it? And consumer1...if you're going to use the fancy words to show us all your gleaming vocabulary...you may want to spell them correctly. There are plenty of other ways to save money. Maybe one cop to a car as they patrol the mean streets of Lawrence.

ASBESTOS 8 years, 7 months ago

KDHE could well fund this program and others like it if they would give up many other programs that are "agency favorites". First, stop all the second hand smoking whohaa and route that funding into preventative health care insurance. The probelm with KDHE over and over again is they try to be "consultants" and worry about Public Health sceond.

Remember the Crypto outbreak? How about the incorrect West Nile reporting . BOth of these 2 events were criticized TWICE by the CDC. This agency needs reformed on the Division of Health side just as much as the Division of Environment needs reformed. TOo much wasted money on "pet projects" and not enough getting the most "bang for the buck" action.

I wish we sould get a Public Health LEADER in the postion of KDHE Secretary other than a Political Appointee. Then get rid of both Division heads and secondary heads and start with a clean slate.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

"Sharon Watson, a spokeswoman with KDHE, said the Lawrence clinic was one of three - with the others in Sedgwick and Riley counties - that had their grants cut."

Sharon out front again obfuscating. (I know Sharon it is your job, but how can you not state the truth?)

KDHE is not supposed to be ran on GRANTS! FOr Crying out loud! "we didn't gewt enough grants." BOy that's a good rallying cry. Get an apportionment. How? The Legislature! HOW? Get your numbers together and show the dimwitted legislature how spending several million on a severly disabled child to attend "public" school is wasted money (ALA Ralph Ostermeyer of Grinnell, KS to name one in particular). Show that funding is NECESSARY and A BARGIAN. IT will offset the medicare payments.

IF KDHE is as non-functional as it is in the real world as it is with getting grants, they need to shut the doors anyway.

IF they don't get grants they can't stay open.

countrygirl 8 years, 7 months ago

Asbestos--do you even know where Grinnell, Ks is? Out there you either go to public school or you don't go at all.

pundit 8 years, 7 months ago

Asbestos: Without being an apologist for KDHE, many of the programs you cite as "agency favorites" are there because of legislative mandates, not because KDHE created them. Their ability to swap resources between programs is highly limited. This will remain this way regardless of who you would appt as the Secy.

Confrontation 8 years, 7 months ago

Can't we take this money out of the "crappy art" fund? One less piece of metal junk would benefit us all.

ASBESTOS 8 years, 7 months ago

COuntrygirl, his daughter should have been taken to a hospital that could deal with it. Ralph went to Topeka and made a bill strictly to make the school district take care of his invalid vegatative daughter. IT almost broke the school and yes the state paid too. Yes I do know where it is.

2nd hand smoke was not "Legislative madated", nor was all the "consulting" that KDHE has done over the many years wasting boatloads of money.

How about all the "Pollution Prevention" nonsense that KDHE does "Free of charge" Or just check out the SBA at KSU, the so called Polution Prevention Institute. They also give out "FREE, non-regulatory, and nor enforcement advice and consulting". WHo do you think then pays for it? That's right, taxpayers instead of the owners.

How about the Confined Feeder Operations runoff program? The KDHE is doing the work for the agreculture corporations FOR FREE or giving the "KLA ENvironmental Services" a blank check to do the engineering and permitting. Who is the KLA Environmental Services? WHy they are the part of Kansas Livestock Associatiion!! The very entity Lobbist that lobbied hard against it in the state legislature. TOo bad it is a FEDERAL LAW!!! Talk about the fox watching the hen house. ONe of the "secrets" that KDHE doesn't want to talk about.

OH, how about "BLue Skyways"??? That is not regulated, nor is it regulated, but we are spending a lot of moola on it! ALl they would have to do in enforce the Clean Air Act. They do not have to develope another program or write another law.

That is the problem with KDHE. They don't lkike ANYTHING EPA passes down and has to re-write everything. That is why it is so screwed up.

We have a lot of people in KDHE who think they are a lot smater than they actually are.

Bobbi Walls 8 years, 7 months ago

I have received care at Health Care Access, and without them would not have been able to have surgery a few months ago. This is a valuable resource to our community. They need the funding.... I would rather go here, than to Heartland....

pundit 8 years, 7 months ago

Asbestos: All the programs you list have legislative and organizational constituencies. You are missing my point on how these programs are statutorily created and funded.....this is not all KDHE's doing.... Your example of the KLA program is typical. The ag lobby including KLA is very powerful in Kansas, and they usually are successful in shaping laws. KDHE didn't enact the law, the legislature did.

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