Vote yes to ensure quality health care services
It’s time for voters to step up to the plate and hit a home run for the
South County Health District. Union County needs comprehensive health
care access. A yes vote would encourage positive growth in all its
communities once the recession ends, as access to quality health care
plays a key role in recruiting new business to the area and keeping
businesses and families here.
Affordable basic health care means having clinics close to the population. If gas rose to $4.50 a gallon again, the drive to La Grande looks a lot less affordable, especially when a family is faced with mounting health care bills.
It’s important to note that the May 19 election will not establish a tax base for the district. According to Walt Brookshire, president of the Cove-Union-Powder Medical Association, a separate vote will take place Sept. 15 “to determine the willingness of voters in the district to pass a limited duration option levy to support district operation.”
Voters should exercise their hard-won privilege and say yes to south county health care before an emergency develops. Voting yes will give the clinic more local control. For years, the clinic has been largely dictated to by Portland and Salem interests. If the new district is approved, Cove, Union and North Powder would each have representation on a new board of directors responsible to local residents to determine such things as clinic hours and services.
The Union Family Health Clinic has been operated by OHSU since 1994. But at the end of June OHSU is closing the practice. An Oregon Supreme Court decision impacting tort claim caps slammed OHSU’s budget by a reported $300 million over a five-year period, resulting in its decision to withdraw support.
CUP, local owner of the clinic, believes the clinic’s practice, if it is open five days a week, would have 4,200 patient visits a year. CUP is now in the process of lining up top-quality personnel to run the clinic. The health district would enhance services now provided and cover primary medical care, dental care, immunizations and urgent care needs. The clinic would be easily accessible for residents in need of treatment, which is important in these days of increasing layers of bureaucracy and red tape.
A South County Health District would go a long way toward helping the area reach its long-term health care goals. A thorough exam of costs and benefits show that the benefits of keeping clinic doors open far outweigh the costs. Voters need to show their compassion for their neighbors and vote yes to keep their health care future locally controlled.