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Letter: Lawmakers should support health care for the poor

Tuesday, April 18, 2017  
Posted by: Christina Swiridowsky
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Letter: Lawmakers should support health care for the poor

Lakeland Ledger

By: Brenda Reddout

Every year, Florida’s free and charitable clinics serve the medical needs of tens of thousands of low-income, uninsured and underserved Floridians.

As the executive director of Talbot House Ministries and our Good Samaritan Free Clinic, I meet people locally who need help on a frequent basis. These people directly benefit from their free medical and dental services. In some cases, help means a long-awaited tooth extraction. In other cases, the treatment received is life-saving and life-altering.

This year, the Good Samaritan Free Clinic received $143,000 in support from the Florida Legislature. This money has allowed us to develop a nutrition program with assistance from Keiser University targeted toward our considerable number of diabetic, hypertensive and high-risk patients. The funding also helped us provide ongoing health services for more than 5,000 patient visits.

Continuing to fund Florida’s free and charitable clinics is an effective way to help people be healthier, independent and contributing members of our community, while decreasing overall health costs by preventing avoidable hospitalizations.

By maintaining in 2017 the $10 million in funding allocated in 2016, the Florida Legislature will allow organizations like ours to continue to offer free and reduced services for those in need, both locally and throughout the state.

The staff and volunteers of Florida’s state network of clinics are the very backbone of affordable indigent care, and our efforts are only possible through support from the state of Florida. We hope we can count on continued support from the Florida Legislature in 2017. Our patients depend on that support and on us.

Brenda Reddout, Ph.D.
Executive Director
Talbot House Ministries

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