Stanislaus County Supervisors Agree to Clinic Restructuring Plan
The Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday voted unanimously to approve a plan that would restructure services at county health clinics and decrease the board's annual allocations to the county Health Services Agency to $3.57 million with the aim of reducing an HSA budget deficit, the Modesto Bee reports.
The board agreed to:
- Reduce the number of patients county clinics see from 260,000 to 207,000 annually;
- Relocate by June 30, 2006, family practice, specialty and urgent care clinics currently housed at the former Stanislaus Medical Center property and authorize sale of the property;
- Prohibit enrollment of adult undocumented immigrants in the county program for the medically indigent; and
- Maintain the county program for training medical residents and recruiting physicians to the area.
The plan also would increase out-of-pocket fees for treatment at county clinics beginning Nov. 1. Fees for primary care visits will increase from $45 to $90, and fees for urgent and specialty care will increase from $40 to $100. The county also will apply to the state and federal government for additional funding for the clinics.
The board scheduled an Oct. 18 public hearing for comments on a proposal to eliminate mammography and dental services at clinics.
According to the Bee, county officials have said the sale of the Scenic Drive property likely will not cover costs of new facilities. The board asked county officials to draft a facilities plan, which will be reviewed by the board (Carlson, Modesto Bee, 9/14).
The Bee on Tuesday looked at the potential effects of the proposals considered by the board. According to the Bee, some community leaders are concerned that the relocation of programs currently housed at the Scenic Drive complex to the West Modesto Community Center will result in longer wait times for patients to see doctors (Carlson, Modesto Bee, 9/13).
The plan county officials submitted to the board was an "optimistic forecast" to a problem for which "there are no quick or easy solutions," a Bee editorial states. According to the editorial, the increases in clinic fees "are more likely to deter people from using the clinics than to raise revenue," and projects such as the planned remodeling are "prone to cost far more than anticipated."
However, the plans to reduce the number of clinic patients and preserve the residency program have "significant positives," the editorial states, concluding that the "limited reduction in services the county staff propose[d] seems to be a reasonable starting point" (Modesto Bee, 9/11).