November 15 editorial
The Park Record has been an unabashed supporter of the People’s Health Clinic since its inception in 1999. At that time, the clinic was little more than a van staffed with a handful of dedicated volunteers. Now, almost a decade later, the clinic is poised to move into a permanent facility at the new medical campus under construction at Quinn’s Junction
This coming Monday, the clinic is holding its annual fundraiser and, like many worthy nonprofit groups, its board members are probably worried about how the current economic climate will affect donations.
Our hope is that the clinic’s supporters will realize the economic crisis facing the entire country is exactly why their contributions are more important than ever.
Long before the federal government was ready to acknowledge that the country was in the midst of a health-care crisis, the People’s Health Clinic was seeing a steady increase in patients. As a group dedicated to providing medical services for the uninsured in Summit and Wasatch counties, the clinic’s doctors and volunteers were on the front lines of that battle. In addition to seasonal employees who didn’t qualify for health benefits at work, they saw many others who were either self employed or had changed jobs and couldn’t afford to buy private policies.
And that was before the real tailspin began. Now, with unemployment and foreclosures on the rise, the clinic’s staff knows they are in for a busy year. They also know some of their traditional funding sources will be stretched thinner than ever before. This fall, the Utah Legislature enacted across-the-board budget cuts and both Park City and Summit County who help support the clinic have said they are also prepared to shave expenditures if necessary.
Whether those cuts are aimed directly at social services or not, widespread personnel layoffs and other cutbacks will mean that fewer people will have health benefits and more will turn to the clinic for basic care.
Think of your contribution to the People’s Health Clinic as insurance for the whole community, especially in tough economic times. It has been said often, but bears repeating, that early health-care intervention helps to cut down on more expensive emergency care later on. And, when families, seasonal workers and school kids can afford proper health care, their neighbors, coworkers and classmates are likely to be healthier too.
The People’s Health Clinic fundraiser is Monday, Nov. 17 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Temple Har Shalom. The event is free but donations will be gratefully accepted. For more information, or to donate even if you can’t make it to the fundraiser, log on to http://www.peopleshealthclinic.org.
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