Indian Clinics Face Funding Cuts, Closure
Proposed funding cuts for the urban health program of U.S. Indian Health Services could close or significantly reduce services at clinics nationwide, including a clinic in Ventura County, the Ventura County Star reports.
Under President Bush's proposed 2007 budget, all funding for the program would be cut to increase emphasis on hospitals and clinics on reservations. Administration officials said American Indians living in urban areas can receive care through other care providers.
However, Alfred Granados, executive director of the American Indian Health & Services clinic in Santa Barbara, said the clinic provides culturally sensitive care, such as providing some holistic treatments.
In addition, an increase in the number of American Indians seeking care at county clinics could further strain county health systems. The not-for-profit clinic receives about half of its funding from IHS.
The Star reports that some American Indians would have to travel hundreds of miles for care or might go without care if the clinics close.
Sens. Barbara Boxer (D) and Dianne Feinstein (D) have said they oppose the cuts and sent a letter to a Senate appropriations subcommittee urging lawmakers to restore the funding (Clerici, Ventura County Star, 3/31).