Health Care Net Catches Anything But Health

by Michael L. McCray

The State of Ohio last year cut the financial assistance to single adults, some of these homeless. While the state tried to leave a public health safety net in place the net is in poor condition and a public health threat to all.

If you call up the Cuyahoga County Ombudsman for Shelters & Hunger Centers Roy Love and are feeling well, he will direct you to Metrohealth System or the City of Cleveland Clinics for treatment.

If you are homeless Health Care for Homeless runs clinics at 12 locations, and has a “county wide mandate to provide services” according to its Director John McKinney.

There are also free clinics in Cuyahoga, Summit, and Lorain Counties.

While Cincinnati has a successful mobile clinic and several small clinics run by the Cincinnati Health Network.

The point is that around the state the access to a physician is still a reality. If you are suffering from a cold, flu, headache, cuts, and other minor ailments you are still in pretty good shape around the State of Ohio.

We did not need general assistance, many may argue. Everyone is fine and dandy and the state has saved a bundle.

However accessing the system does not mean that you will obtain the treatment for a medical condition.

After you have seen the doctor at the Metrohealth System you are out luck if you do not have the money for the prescription. The doctor is free, the remedies are not. When asked if an indigent person can receive medications from the City of Cleveland Health Clinic, the answer of a clinic worker was “you better have money.”

Health Care for the Homeless is very selective of whom they send to Metrohealth because they must pay for the service. Everyone is looking for sample medications, terribly expensive, a lot of people cannot afford them. “The fee they pay will cover testing and medication but not other needs” according Dr. Clarence Taylor, a ten year veteran with Health Care for Homeless. I sent one man who was homeless who needed colon oscapthy and a month’s worth of medical supplies.

“We are referring a lot of people to the Free Clinic so they can get medications,” stated one Health Care for the Homeless employee.