Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Indigent Health Fund Transfer: New Record

Tom Green County's Indigent Health Program (IHP) had its best year ever.  It closed the year spending only $69,400 on medical bills.  However, the County began quarterly UPL contributions in January, at a rate of $250,000 per quarter.  Payments in May and August brought the year's UPL contribution to $750,000.  UPL dollars are matched by state and federal funds.  This magic $2.7 million UPL pot was exclusively for area hospitals to use on indigent care.

Esperanza Clinic got a portion of the $69,400, a tiny amount relative to historical expenditures.  Esperanza CEO Mike Campbell asked County Commissioners to add dental services as a benefit under Indigent Health.  Campbell projected it would cost $78,000 on an annual basis.  County Commissioners voted no by a vote of 3-2.

Note the blue surplus wave in the graph.  The year ended 8-31-10 saw roughly $1.12 million move from Indigent Health to general revenue (GR).  That beat 2004, when $1.05 million  was transferred from IHP to GR.  Over the last decade, the transfer averaged $750,000 per year, over $7.5 million in total.

Mike Campbell's request was roughly 10% of the annual surplus.  Some things are too much to ask.  It's hard to expand benefits locally, when cuts are on the way.  Children's health insurance, CHIP, stands to undergo Decimation II under the looming Texas General Assembly.  Nearly half the kids in Tom Green County fell off CHIP rolls in the first shedding

Campbell's rejection is portending.  Citizens will have to toughen up, even bite on the proverbial stick when in pair.  Some may have to gum it.

Maybe, CEO Mike should get with Bishop Mike and approach Judge Mike. 

Update:  At least Tom Green County Commissioners didn't crack jokes about higher cremation fees for dead obese indigents, as did Florida's Escambia County Commissioners

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