June 12, 2008
by David Abbott
Sonoma West Times & News
SANTA ROSA - About 80 people jammed into a conference room Tuesday morning at the Sonoma County Indian Health Project, Incorporated facility to hear community health leaders address the potential adverse effects of the proposed 2008-2009 California state budget.
According to information provided at the meeting, the proposed budget would cut $6.7 million to statewide health care services that serve about 3.6 million of the state’s estimated 6.7 million uninsured individuals.
The forum was presented by the Redwood Community Health Coalition (RCHC) the California Primary Care Association, and the Latino Coalition for a Healthy California and featured community health leaders from agencies that are already operating on tight budgets.
Speakers included Carmela Castellano-Garcia, President and CEO of California Primary Care Association, Kelly Pfeifer, MD, Medical Director, Redwood Community health Coalition, Al Hernandez, Executive Director, Latino Coalition for a Healthy California, Amy Moy, Associate Vice President for Public Affairs, Planned Parenthood Golden Gate, and Kirk Pappas, MD; President-Elect of the Sonoma County Medical Association.
Castellano-Garcia began the discussion by addressing budget cuts she called “an assault on the California safety net system.” She added that community health was “under attack by this administration’s onerous proposals,” and those affected will have no access to primary care.
According to Castellano-Garcia, the people who are cut out of community health will have no recourse but to receive care at emergency rooms, which are more costly than preventative care provided by the community health network.
For more information on Tides Center project Latino Coalition for a Healthy California, see www.lchc.org.