Cutbacks would be devastating | AspenTimes.com

Cutbacks would be devastating

As I arose from bed this morning and went through my morning ritual, my thoughts drifted toward my day at work.

This morning we will hold prenatal and family planning clinics. The midwife and nurse will work together to ensure that our prenatal moms receive a physical exam, education on breast feeding, parenting skills and will also do a reality check on their emotional status. This is done so that they receive adequate prenatal care and have healthy babies.

Our family planning clients will also receive a physical exam to include a pap smear, a breast exam, an STD check and education in family planning methods in order to prevent unwanted or unplanned pregnancies.

I will try to squeeze in some time to write informative letters to families who have children on Medicaid regarding services available to their children to include physical exams, developmental screens, immunizations and dental care.

I will also follow-up from WIC clinic yesterday, which provides nutritional education on healthy foods for pregnant, post-partum women, infants and children. We check to see that they are up to date with their immunizations and are growing appropriately, according to age.

Yesterday, I attended a bioterrorism conference held by the Colorado Department of Health, where I learned that the Center for Disease Control and the state have finished their plan for mass immunizations for 43 million residents of Colorado in case of a smallpox outbreak within the United States.

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Community Health, together with other health providers, now has to develop a local plan to ensure the safety of the community. I think of all this and I sigh with satisfaction that we are fortunate to provide these services to our residents, especially those who are uninsured, underinsured (deductibles of $1,000-plus) at reduced prices through the help from local and private foundations, reduced fees and governmental support.

There is a dark cloud looming over our agency. We have seen financial cutbacks kom the State of Colorado to the tune of $21,000 in the last year. We are now in danger of losing 50 percent of the financial support from the county, due to budgetary downfalls.

I hear we must do more with less; unfortunately we have been doing just this for the past few years. If we lose support, I then must determine where we make up for these downfalls, which programs and services must suffer. Foundations are facing their own problems with decreased donations which, in turn, mean less grant monies for agencies.

Please don’t forget to vote on Tuesday, Nov. 5, and vote yes on Referendum 1A, so that we may continue to provide the same level of services our community has come to expect.

Yvonne M. Hernandez, RN, MS

Executive Director,

Community Health Services, Inc.