Thursday, September 28, 2017

Five Years Ago City Closed STD Clinic

Five years ago the City of San Angelo closed its sexually transmitted disease clinic and severely restricted immunizations.  Mayor Alvin New and City Council carried through on their threat to shutter critical public health services so state and federal money could displace local funding.  It looked like strong arming at the time, which city staff later illuminated for council.

Medicare Section 1115 Grant funding enabled the STD clinic to reopen in August 2013.  During its closure the city experienced a rampant syphilis outbreak.  After reopening with Medicare funding the clinic treated 199 STD clients in two short months.  The full year before the clinic treated 160 STD clients.  Treating more patients in two months is an oddity given the city closed the clinic and had a baseline of no patients for its federal grant.

The reopened clinic saw patients three days a week by appointment only.  The clinic operated only 24 days in the last two months of that fiscal year.

The City budget stated there were 608 clients scheduled through the STD clinic during those two months.  That's over 25 patients per day.  The full year before the clinic scheduled 766 clients through the clinic.

In addition the STD clinic performed 795 STD/HIV prevention encounters.  That's 33 people per day after reopening.  The full year before the clinic conducted 722 STD prevention encounters.  It educated 73 more people in two months time than it did the entire year before.

There are more oddities in the STD clinic story line, both before and after its ten month closure.  That closure began five years ago at 5:00 pm, the last Friday of September.

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