Letters to the Editor

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HEALTH CARE: Cuts threaten health interventions

Letter by Andrea M. Williams, Tumwater on March 15, 2013 at 10:40 am with No Comments »
March 15, 2013 11:35 am

I am a registered nurse working in Pierce County and also a student at the University of Washington Tacoma. I recently learned about the tremendous Medicaid cuts facing the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department (TPCHD) and about the proposed impacts these cuts will have on TPCHD services to low-income families and children.

I am writing to you to convey my perspectives as a nurse and to encourage TPCHD efforts to absorb cuts in a balanced manner that sustains evidence-based programs shown to be cost-effective in supporting the long-term physical, mental and social health of Pierce County.

Changes to Medicaid are expected to cut more than $1.6 million from TPCHD, resulting in the loss of seven Family Support Centers and services to more than 4,000 families. The Nurse Family Partnership – which has been recognized nationally for its cost-effective success in improving long-term health and social outcomes for infants and their mothers – will face a 37 percent cut, eliminating services to an estimated 76 high-risk families.

In my job as a critical care RN, I see the acute health impacts of our social devaluing of public health. I often work with low-income adults struggling to manage chronic and preventable illnesses amidst pressures to support their families.

Cuts to Medicaid demand a prompt and drastic response. However, I urge TPCHD and the public officials overseeing its budget to consider the long-term impacts proposed cuts would have on the health of this community and on the long-term social and medical spending in our state.

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