Alameda County Supervisors Earmark $5 Million for Community Clinics
The Alameda County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday allocated $5 million from Measure A for primary care clinics after some community leaders claimed the fund distribution neglected some population groups, the Oakland Tribune reports (Maitre, Oakland Tribune, 4/27).
Voters in March 2004 approved Measure A, which will increase the county sales tax to 8.75%, the highest sales tax rate in the state. The measure is expected to generate about $90 million to $100 million in revenue over 15 years (California Healthline, 4/6).
The Alameda Health Consortium will receive the bulk of funds -- nearly $4.8 million -- to supplement its network of eight clinics that provide services to low-income and uninsured county residents.
Roosevelt Mosby, executive director of SMAAC Youth Center in Oakland, said supervisors disregarded the needs of young gay residents in the funding allocations. According to the Tribune, Mosby has made "repeated attempts for additional money."
Under the allocation, the Bay Area Consortium for Quality Healthcare will receive $246,000 from Measure A. Geoffrey Watson, medical director for the consortium, says the money will be insufficient to address racial health disparities in the county, especially for African Americans and Latinos.
Watson has called for an independent analysis of the funding distribution, saying "there is something inherently wrong with this methodology."
County Health Care Services Agency Director David Kears said that he has allocated $125,000 in other county funds for the consortium's Ujima Holistic Family Health Center in Oakland and will continue to pursue other funding sources for the consortium.
Kears said the distribution of Measure A money, which is expected to generate about $90 million annually, was based on testimony at public hearings and meetings with health care providers. Kears said the funding recommendations "are fair and reasonable -- not perfect -- but fair and reasonable."
Supervisor Alice Lai-Bitker said, "It's very unfortunate that we're having a discussion that's very important ... that's being infused with this kind of racial overtone. Knowing the kind of difficult process (Kears) faced (in distributing the money), I feel that he is trying to do his best" (Oakland Tribune, 4/27).