Health Department a needed provider

Health Department a needed provider

June 13th, 2011 in Opinion Letters

Health Department a needed provider

The Hamilton County Project Access Community Health Partnership is deeply concerned about potentially significant funding cuts to the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Health Department. The Health Department and its health clinics, including the Homeless Health Center, have been an integral part of Project Access since we began providing specialty health care services to uninsured residents in 2004.

To date, Project Access has coordinated more than $72 million in donated health care services to low-income uninsured residents of Hamilton County. Our 18-member consortium includes health centers and clinics, hospital systems, rehabilitation facilities and more than 600 volunteer physicians.

Every week we work with patients who come to us from the Health Department health clinics. Project Access coordinates specialty care for these uninsured patients. Many are the working poor who don't have health insurance and who cannot afford the costs of basic health care. Many won't be able to continue working if they lose access to the basic primary care services offered at the Health Department clinics. The safety net primary care centers in Hamilton County are already at capacity, and it is very unlikely they could absorb these uninsured patients if these services are cut.

Equally important, the Health Department provides critical preventive care services, including immunization, screening and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases, treatment of other communicable diseases and women's health services. The department also identifies and addresses health hazards in the community.

We urge you to protect and preserve these important functions which safeguard and improve the health of our citizens and contribute the vitality of our county.

JOE COFER, M.D.,

Project Access Chair

Some bullying can be covert

The writers of our Constitution knew that government could become a source of injury and oppression. Therefore, our Constitution was written with two purposes in mind. Establish a strong central authority and limit that central authority's capacity to abuse its power. Our Founding Fathers included basic principles to divide power and to prevent the abuse of power.

When basic rights guaranteed by our Constitution are denied and a majority remains indifferent, as in the racial injustices that occurred in the 1950s and 1960s, a movement begins. As citizens begin to acknowledge the grievances of those abused, they begin to recognize inequitable treatment in other segments of the population. Consciousness then leads to passage of legislation to protect the rights of those discriminated against.

Thank you, Clay Bennett, for portraying, so well, a sentiment felt by many educators across Hamilton County in your recent "Study cites increase in school bullying" editorial cartoon (June 5). My question is, "How long will we continue to allow it?" In many cases, it is covert.

ESTHER TAJ CLARK