[ed. We are reproducing this message that is posted on the Web site of the Health Center, for people to understand the financial state of health care in the U.S. If anyone wishes to help, please send a check to AVHC, P.O. Box 338, Boonville, CA 95415-0338, or contact Judith Dolan at (707) 895-3477.
(Swans - June 6, 2011)
HOW WOULD YOUR LIFE BE AFFECTED IF THERE WERE NO ANDERSON VALLEY HEALTH CENTER??
Our Health Center is in fiscal trouble right now. There are several reasons for this situation, which some have labeled DIRE.
We all know that the economy has been in trouble for several years. In spite of this, our community has supported the Health Center to a degree that is astonishing -- especially compared to other like entities nearby. For that, the Board of Directors and the staff of the Health Center are forever grateful. The generosity shown by the results of the capital campaign and from our recent fund raising pleas are truly amazing...
BUT we are still in trouble.
Many in the community are aware that the state has completely withdrawn funding for health care. The Health Center has lost more than 1/3 of its revenue. What would your personal finances look like if you lost 33% of your income and were still required to spend the same amount to survive? We are mandated to serve everyone who walks through the doors of the Health Center.
SO WHAT HAVE WE DONE TO ADDRESS THE PROBLEM?
The entire staff, from the Medical Director to the cleaning team, has experienced a 10% pay decrease, which has been in effect for over 1½ years and will continue for the foreseeable future.
Twice recently we personally asked some past donors for contributions to help fund our mortgage so we could be certain of remaining a viable entity in our community. We set aside these funds in a special account, but we have only a few more months of certain payments.
The USDA, which owns our mortgage, has arranged a "workout agreement" for us, so we are paying interest only for now. But this is only until October, after which time we must renegotiate.
BUT even if our mortgage were to be eliminated, the Health Center runs at a $15,000 deficit every month. Besides receiving NO funds from the State of California, we receive NO federal funds either. Most of the rural health clinics in our region do receive funds from the federal government.
We have applied to the government to achieve the status required to make us eligible to receive these funds. To that end, our Executive Director, Judith Dolan, wrote and submitted a 185-page grant proposal. Shortly after submission of this proposal, the government withdrew the plan to award these funds -- remember when the government was to close down a few weeks ago? The program for which we might have been eligible was part of the COMPROMISE and greatly reduced.
So what do we do? Our mortgage holder, the USDA, will not adjust the terms of the loan in any way except to extend the time frame. The AVHC Board of Directors must consider all options as we try to continue to offer local medical and dental care to our community. We will speak to some of these options in our next article, but you should know that this might mean the Health Center losing its current independent status.
Note from Gilles d'Aymery: I've written about the dire situation faced by the AVHC in my Blips #89 (September 7, 2009) and, more generally, in my Blips #91 (October 5, 2009). Furthermore, Jan Baughman illustrated the condition of health care in her cartoon entitled (R)evolutionary Health Care Reform (September 21, 2009).
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About the Author
The Anderson Valley Health Center, located in Boonville, California, is a not-for-profit community health center offering a broad range of services to children, teens, adults, and seniors. Please visit its Web site. (back)