On creation of Manatee County indigent health care plan, review existing ones around country

June 14, 2014 

The recent attempt to quickly persuade the Manatee Board of County Commissioners to approve the use of public funds, $190,000, to hire, for the second time, the University of South Florida, to develop a health care plan for our community is the wrong approach.

As suggested at the recent meeting, if this is approved, it should be divided three ways between the public, the health care community and the business community.

Before this occurs, the commissioners should immediately update and reconsider a presently existing successful health care plan in Buncombe County, N.C.

This plan was located by Manatee County staff and suggested by the Federation of Manatee County Community Associations to the commission in May 2008. This plan had initially and successfully resolved the same economically indigent health care issues in Buncombe County that we have in Manatee County.

A copy of this plan is being resubmitted by the federation to the commissioners, our Chamber of Commerce and local medical society, to update and review to avoid unnecessary spending of funds for an already existing plan.

At this time there should be more than one plan existing in the U.S. that can be used as a model to create a Manatee County plan. If our county staff could locate the North Carolina plan in 2008, there is no reason why our medical society, hospitals and chamber cannot use their sources to provide us with other such current health care plans that can be used to create our plan. It seems unnecessary "to reinvent the wheel."

A well-developed plan should consist of a management oversight, the establishment of an active independent oversight board, identification of patients for the purposes of billing, establishment of guidelines and procedural road map, and printed material should be available at facilities for patients outlining alternate sites for care and steps for self help.

Ernest "Sandy" Marshall, Federation of Manatee County Community Associations Bradenton

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