The people of Tillicum stand to lose a valuable service with the announcement this week that the neighborhood Family Medical Clinic is closing its doors.
According to Karen Priest, Executive Director of the Tillicum Community Center where the clinic is located, figures released to the media by Community Health show 1,572 patients were seen last year “which equates to 5,900 visits at this clinic alone,” said Priest. These numbers likely would have increased significantly in 2010, Priest indicated, had not new patients been turned away for half that time.
There is also another number that should concern all those with influence over this development.
According to the Tacoma News Tribune story of March 22 regarding the closure of the Tillicum Family Medical Clinic, the amount spent lobbying the legislature by the Community Health Network last year ranked this health provider first in Democratic campaign committee contributions.
In other words, while the people of Tillicum were being turned away and the closure of the clinic they are now told is a matter of economics, the lobbyists representing this specific health care provider were plunking down nearly three-quarters of a million dollars into lobbying the legislature and earning the dubious distinction of most money given to the coffers of Democratic campaigns.
Meanwhile, because of ‘budget cuts’: Tillicum closes its doors to health care; those without insurance need not apply; eligibility requirements are raised to redefine ‘poor’; and Basic Health Care and Disability Lifeline are on life support.
The Health, Education, and Welfare of the people of the State of Washington should not be held hostage to either government earmarks, special interest groups, and especially not to those with the most lobbying-muscle.
If the service you are providing proves your worth you don’t need dollars to do your shouting for you.