Local and Community News
Texas: Cutbacks May Reduce Services at Health Clinic
February 28, 2003
Testing and treatment for STDs at the Arlington Public Health Center in Tarrant County, Texas, may be eliminated or reduced following a vote last week in the city of Arlington cut $210,000 in funding earmarked for the clinic. The City Council approved the reduction last Tuesday as a part of $2 million in cuts designed to avoid a $4.8 million budget deficit. Tarrant County Public Health Department officials have not determined whether they will continue to offer the services supported by city money. If the county discontinues the services, Arlington residents will have to travel to Fort Worth for STD testing.Adapted from:
Arlington has offered services beyond those provided at most of the county public health clinics since the 1980s, said Trey Yelverton, city Neighborhood Services director. "The reductions will get us to a similar level of service that is offered by other neighborhood clinics," he said. The city began supplementing Tarrant's health clinic when it moved three nurses from the city immunization program to the county clinic staff. Since then, about 30 percent of the clinic's total funding comes from Arlington, Yelverton said.
The cuts will affect some 2,000 Arlington residents who had been tested or treated for STDs annually at the clinic for over two decades. Reductions for childhood immunizations and women's health assessments are also planned. However, funding for tuberculosis screenings, domestic violence counseling, dental screenings and the federal WIC program would not be affected.
Low-income residents do have some alternatives for medical care and tests. The AIDS Outreach Center, 401 W. Sanford St. in Arlington, offers free HIV testing and counseling, said Gabriela Arias, the agency's director of preventative services. Arias noted that about 350 residents are tested annually. The JPS Health Network neighborhood center, also on Sanford, will provide medical care for residents who qualify based on their income. A second Arlington clinic for women offers obstetric and gynecological care.
Fort Worth Star-Telegram
02.21.03; Jan Jarvis