It's been about a year since Positive Health Care patients at the India Street Public Health Center began transitioning their care to new physicians and practices. Here's a quick update about the services that continue at the India Street Clinic and how the city intends to follow up to find out how the clinic's former Positive Health patients are doing and what we can learn from this transition process.
During last year’s municipal budget cycle here in Portland, there was a proposal to close the India Street Public Health Center and have another entity take over its services. This caused great concern in the community—particularly with regard to the potential relocation of the Positive Health Care program, the Needle Exchange, lab services that provided STD and HIV testing, and the Portland Community Free Clinic.
Before the budget was passed, I worked with the City Manager to craft an amendment that would keep The Needle Exchange, STD/HIV Testing, and the Free Clinic in place at India Street. That amendment passed unanimously.
Now, seven months later, here's where those programs—and the Positive Health Care program—stand.
On May 16, 2016, the Portland City Council will take a vote on the Fiscal Year 2017 budget, which includes a proposal to shift the city-directed healthcare programs currently operated by the India Street Public Health Center to the management of the Portland Community Health Center (PCHC). Here's a quick rundown of what will happen if the budget passes.
From the beginning of this discussion—which started for some parties more than a year ago—the aim of everyone involved has been to ensure that the services offered at the City of Portland’s India Street Public Health Center remain available and accessible.
No one has ever sought to eliminate these programs. What many people don’t realize is that these programs were in jeopardy long before the City Manager’s Fiscal Year 2017 budget was proposed.
At the May 2, 2016 Council meeting, many questions and concerns were raised about the services provided at Portland Community Health Center and their ability to add more patients to their practice. There were also issues raised around the closing of the City's Health Care for the Homeless Clinic in 2014. Dr. Leslie Clark, the CEO of Portland CHC has provided answers and information addressing these questions and concerns, and I'm posting them below.
That was the question a few friends asked me recently. They hadn’t been able to find a comprehensive explanation of the issues anywhere, and they were wondering why the city was planning to transition these services, why the Council seemed to be in favor of the transition, and what steps remained to be taken before this proposal would either pass or fail.
They asked me if I could suggest something for them to read, but I wasn’t able to direct them to a source that could answer their questions. So, I wrote this.
This is my attempt to outline:
I hope that this information is helpful.
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