Sunday, January 01, 2006

Is it realistic to think that the local health departments can absorb the load of the uninsured?
Gov. Phil Bredesen recently announced a Safety Net program that will give the state's health departments a total of $140 million to allow the facilities to expand medical services. Those 191,000 people cut from TennCare will have another option, with many of them being absorbed by the local state clinics.
Why does Gov Bredesen think the health departments can now handle the load when they couldn't before?
"Good management has led us to a place where we can extend medical assistance programs for the benefit of our neighbors in need," Bredesen said in a news release.
If good management can do it now, can I get a refund on all the money wasted by the previous "bad management"?

How are they going to handle this? Nurse practitioners, for one, in Montgomery County.
The extra staff coming as part of the Safety Net program includes two nurse practitioners, two registered nurses, two nursing assistants and two office assistants.
And in Anderson County:
By Jan. 3, the new primary care services will be available at 39 county health departments across the state, with eight more counties scheduled to be added later in the year, according to a press release from the Tennessee Department of Health.

Fees will be based on income, with a $5 minimum.

The new and expanded adult primary health care services are for acute and chronic illnesses, said Sandy Halford, assistant regional director at the East Tennessee Regional Health Office in Knoxville. Acute illnesses include sicknesses like sore throats, earaches and pneumonia, while chronic illnesses include high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis and certain heart conditions.
Note this comment:
No narcotics will be offered.
New staffing in Anderson and Roane counties as well:
When fully staffed for the new services, the health departments in Anderson and Roane counties will have new staff members, including a doctor, nurse practitioner, registered nurse, certified nursing assistant and two office support workers, Halford said. New physicians have already been hired for the Anderson and Roane county health departments, she said.
It will be interesting to see how this works. I anticipate a much higher need for funding than what the Governor is now describing. These health departments are going to be overwhelmed.

I like the comment about the narcotics. These health departments are going to be inundated, at least initially, with drug seekers.

Good luck.