PUBLIC HEALTH: San Francisco Blasted for Diminished Services
Representing the Coalition to Save Public Health, William Brady decries the state of public health in San Francisco in a San Francisco Chronicle op-ed. He cites the city's March 3 closure of two San Francisco General Hospital pharmacies as among the most recent examples of "an outrage [that] should not be permitted in the city named after the most caring of saints." In addition to wait times of between two and four hours, the hospital's remaining pharmacy is the scene of frequent fights, as consumers vie for seats and places in line--necessitating plans to hire four security officers. "Those who receive public health services are our most vulnerable; those who cannot help themselves and have nowhere else to go," Brady writes. Despite local health care providers' protests at a March 23 commission meeting, Brady says the "deep cuts in public health services" continue, including charging patients -- "for the first time in 35 years" -- a minimum of $2 per prescription, and possible closures of a San Francisco General Hospital satellite clinic, as well as its psychiatric and OB/GYN wards. "We cannot allow public health services to be gutted in one of the richest cities in the richest country in the world during the most bullish of economic times," Brady writes, noting that cutbacks invariably lead to higher costs through increased inpatient and emergency care. Brady writes: "Rather than these draconian cuts, what is needed is a mayor and Public Health Commission who will press for increased federal contributions and more local funding for public health" (5/5).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.