Supervisors weigh health plan |

Supervisors weigh health plan

The El Dorado County Board of Supervisors is expected to formally adopt the Health Alliance’s plan for county funds from the Master Tobacco Settlement.

The Alliance’s plan aims to use all of the county’s $47 million from the tobacco settlement for health care programs. The board originally accepted the plan in February.

“(Acceptance) is what the board agreed to in principle and tomorrow they’ll adopt the Health Alliance imitative which will solidify that,” said P.J. LoDuca, head of the Health Alliance.

The acceptance is a major milestone for the Health Alliance which was formed in July 2000 to make sure the tobacco money went primarily to health care concerns. The previous Board of Supervisors had different plans for the money. The Health Alliance sponsored the ballot issue that voters passed to spend the money on health care issues.

“The previous board was going to spend the funds on a justice center and we qualified it for balloting,” LoDuca said. “The new board agreed to adopt the health initiative and that is what was going to happen tomorrow. It is finally making it official.”

The board will also consider the allocation of over $1 million to the Barton Community Clinic. LoDuca said funds are needed immediately to ensure the sooth running of the clinic which is in debt because it often accepts patients with no insurance or other means of payment.

“It’s meant to support the Barton Community Clinic through a two-year period while they wait to get a special designation from the federal government to make that clinic sustainable,” LoDuca said. “That clinic really serves people who have little insurance or no insurance. They’ve been running $500,000 loss or more a year and that is not something they can continue to do. I think we all agree that it is critical for that clinic to exist up there.”

LoDuca said the Health Alliance plans to formulate a plan before any more funds are allocated to determine where the greatest need for funds are.

“There is a strategic planning process that needs to happen we feel until more funds are expended,” LoDuca said. “What you should see on the next agenda is an item about a planning process.”

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