Contra Costa County Mulls Health Cuts for Immigrants, Inmates
The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors is considering proposals to cut health services for undocumented immigrants and inmates, the Contra Costa Times reports.
This month, the Board of Supervisors will consider a plan to prohibit undocumented adult immigrants from receiving nonurgent county-funded care. The county would continue to provide care for undocumented childrenÂ younger thanÂ age 19, as well as provide coverage for emergencies, pregnancies and certain other conditions, including tuberculosis and breast cancer.
About 5,500 undocumented immigrants are eligible for the county's Basic Health Care Program, which serves low-income residents who cannot obtain any other health insurance.
If approved, the plan to exclude adult undocumented immigrants from primary care services could save the county medical system $6 million annually.
Last month, Sacramento County supervisors approved a plan to cut nonurgent care for undocumented immigrants in an effort to save the county $2.4 million.
Contra Costa County also is considering cutting a $2.6 million program that provides health care for inmates of the West County Detention Facility in Richmond.
William Walker, the county's health director, said the county no longer can afford to provide nonemergency health care services at the facility.
If the plan is approved, the county would transfer about 300 to 350 inmates to another detention center in Martinez where health servicesÂ will continue to be available.
Tanir Ami, executive director of the Community Clinic Consortium for Contra Costa and Solano counties, said her organization and others are asking supervisors to reconsider the cuts.
She said that those who are excluded from county care will be discouraged from seeking primary care altogether, which could endanger the overall health of the community and place a burden on future emergency services (O'Brien, Contra Costa Times, 3/2).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.