Texas Liberal

All People Matter

UTMB, U. Of Texas Regents, & State Of Texas Happy To Let People Die For Being Poor

The number of the indigent patients being seen at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston has been cut drastically.

These cuts have been mandated by the University of Texas Board of Regents and by the Texas State Legislature.

From the Houston Chronicle—

“UTMB has been edging out of the charity care business for nearly a decade and last year devoted the smallest portion of its resources to charity in memory, dropping to 2.6 percent of patient services. Charity care is a money loser, and UTMB officials say the Legislature wants it to make money, not lose it ..The decline in spending on charity care fell from 20.6 percent of total patient services in 1999 to 2.6 percent last year, according to a chart prepared by Dr. Merle Lenihan based on UTMB’s annual financial reports. Lenihan is the author of a report by the Galveston County Cancer Coalition on the county’s lack of charity policies. UTMB filled a vital role in Texas by caring for the indigent since the 19th century. Those days are gone, said Dr. Ben Raimer, UTMB senior vice president. “I think it is a different world for UTMB, but it is a world of accountability,” Raimer said…In fiscal year 2006, UTMB cared for uninsured patients from 160 of Texas’ 254 counties. By 2009 that number had dropped to 83 counties. That trend has consequences for social service agencies like Jesse Tree, based in Galveston. The organization has seen a 75 percent increase in people seeking health care since Hurricane Ike..The agency is enrolling 1,000 applicants a month seeking everything from primary care to cancer treatment, Hanley said. “We’re coming apart at the seams,” he said. Hanley said the problem is acute because half of Galveston County’s 250,000 population is uninsured….”It is their responsibility, that is a historic one, for UTMB to provide services for those that are economically disadvantaged,” said Joe Compian, a member of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston Campaign for Human Development’s local board. “It is a state institution. It is a local institution, as well, and that means it belongs to the people of Texas and let’s do right for the people of Texas…””I think it’s a travesty,” Galveston County Judge Jim Yarbrough said. “It should be an integral part of their mission. They are the state indigent care facility, and they have patients coming from all over the state.” Yarbrough is irked that Galveston County rode to UTMB’s rescue last year, but now it can’t even get a contract with the medical school to care for the county’s poor. State law allows counties to spend $30,000 per patient, but UTMB wants twice that….To meet a condition set by the Legislature for a state bailout of UTMB, the county raised taxes by 6 cents last year to pay for indigent medical care other than checkups, such as care for diabetes or cancer..Fortified with new legislative appropriations, UTMB has embarked on a $1 billion reconstruction effort, has plans for a new surgical tower and other buildings, and reportedly expects to finish this fiscal year in the black.”

Here is the web home of the Jesse Tree charity mentioned in the article.

There are many decent people who work at UTMB who want to care for all people. But the policy decisions are made at the top and they seem to reflect callousness.

“…A world of accountability” one UTMB senior official says. What?—Being accountable for death and suffering?

And while people suffer from the lack of insurance and lack of care, the State of Texas is fighting what will be a losing battle in the courts to overturn Health Care Reform.

Here is a web page that discusses the benefits of Health Care Reform.

Our State of Texas is acting in a barbaric manner in letting people die because they don’t have health insurance.

We don’t seem to have any standards of decency at all anymore. Everything is about money and about extremist small government ideology instead of concern for our fellow human beings.

August 27, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment