I have found that as my blog has grown, and we have started to reach all areas of the state (no longer just the ‘burg), that I receive more intel from all walks of life and issues in pocket communities.
Case in point, I have written some in the past about the proposed sale/lease of the Citrus County Memorial Hospital and how that is about to come in for a landing (fingers crossed). The background there is that the hospital had some financial issues and then the Legislature came in and created a governing entity and financial oversight board and both boards have been working toward leasing the hospital to a private company to be able to save the hospital and move the medical community forward. During these discussions in Citrus, talk of long-term funding for indigent care has been heavy, also focusing on other areas and ways to properly use the funds for the lease.
So in my coverage and research of this, I came across a similar situation in Manatee County, but this one is on a bit of a time jump, say 30 years.
Let me explain..
I take you to Citrus to get to Manatee because Manatee Memorial Hospital was sold in 1984 to a private company and the county dedicated some funds to pay for indigent care. And, while the funding lasted an impressive 30 years, health care costs have just about depleted the account. And, as an article in the Bradenton Herald said in April – the issue must be addressed by the county and cannot be ignored. So, where does that leave us today and why I am blogging on this?
Tomorrow, there is a very crucial vote by the Manatee County Board of County Commissioners to either spend the money they have set aside to fund indigent care for one more year or not.
Even my most conservative Republican friends will agree that funding for indigent care and children are two areas that the fiscally conservative and socially moderate can find common ground. Look, I get it, the commission may be receiving some political pressure and maybe the Tea Party is making some noise (which it is good at doing, no doubt), but every once in a while an issue comes along that is an easy vote, an easy yes. Yes, I am OK with spending money that is already there and already dedicated for indigent care. Yes, I am OK with making the right decision NOW and then encouraging all parties involved to come up with a plan and long-term solution.
Indigent care funding is crucial and it is elected officials’ duty to help take care of those that cannot help themselves, especially when the funds are available for immediate action. Yes, a long-term plan relating to the health needs of Manatee County is vital, and the County Commissioners should make that a top priority, but let’s not lose the forest for the trees here.
Vote tomorrow to spend the money in the corpus on indigent care, get your community past this hurdle and then focus on a long-term plan. Election year politics be damned, this is the right thing to do.