MANATEE -- "Medically needy" and "underserved" are accurate.
Members of the newly formed Manatee County Healthcare Advisory Board made the distinction in describing the populations they are trying to assist.
The volunteer board, established to come up with ideas how best to serve and fund care for the medically needy of Manatee County, adopted those terms at its second meeting Wednesday.
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The next meeting is set for 5 p.m. Feb. 24, also on the ninth floor of the county administrative building.
The board heard from Chief Executive Officer Kevin DiLallo of Manatee Memorial Hospital and Dan Friedrich, CEO of Blake Medical Center, who used those words to describe people without enough funds or insurance to pay for medical care.
Board members learned
at their last meeting hospital contracts and physician payments for the underserved from the county will total $5.2 million in 2016.
They heard a more human side of the situation Wednesday.
DiLallo said Manatee Memorial Hospital treats five patients who require regular kidney dialysis and have no money. Blake treats three such patients, Friedrich said.
DiLallo told of a woman who had surgery at Manatee Memorial and had no where to go afterward.
"They were living in a car and the husband sold the car for his wife's care so it ended up the wife, husband and kids were all living with us," DiLillo said.
Manatee Memorial decided the prudent thing to do was to pay for a motel room for the family for a month until the family could get re-established, DiLallo said.
Said Friedrich: "We have an obligation that we discharge patients in a safe environment,"
Board member Philip Brown said it might be better for Manatee County to establish a program around the dialysis patients rather than treat them through the emergency rooms.
Karen Windon, assistant county administrator, said that kind of thinking shows the board is moving in the right direction.
Mike Meehan, the lone member from the public, suggested MCR Health Services, being a federally qualified health center where everyone must be treated, should ensure people which the Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed report by United Way of Florida lists as living in the most economically challenged areas -- West Samoset, South Bradenton, Samoset, and Bayshore Gardens -- have accessibility to care.
"It makes sense to me that we need federally qualified health centers in those four areas," Meehan said.
Richard Dymond, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7072 or contact him via Twitter@RichardDymond.