Candidates On: City-operated Health Clinics

As part of CityBeat's continuing election coverage, we’ve once again sent a questionnaire to the non-incumbent Cincinnati City Council candidates to get their reactions on a broad range of issues.

Nine of the 14 non-incumbents chose to answer our questions. Others either didn’t respond or couldn’t meet the deadline.

During the next few weeks, we will print the responses from the non-incumbents to a different topic each time.

Today’s question is, “Do you consider the operation of health clinics to be an acceptable function of municipal government?”—-

Mike Allen (Independent): “Yes. Every effort should be made to keep the health clinics open, but council should also look to save resources by consolidating health services and bidding these services out through managed competition.”

Kevin Flynn (Charterite): “We need to revamp our entire delivery system of public health in our community. We have a tremendous asset in our health clinics but we don’t utilize them well. Our city has a fine Health Department which is constantly threatened by the budget axe. The city needs to be a central player in redeveloping the public health model for our region in a sustainable manner.

“As chairman of the board of the Drake Center, I have observed a lot of wasted time, money, and effort in this area. We spend a lot of money on public health in this region, but we do so in a manner which wastes money and does not address the health needs of our community. We need to combine and coordinate the efforts of the clinics sponsored by the city, the UC College of Medicine, the nursing and allied health colleges in our community, the funding provided by the county, the state, and the federal government, and the resources of our hospital systems. By combining efforts, we can focus on a continuum of care which will emphasize prevention and early treatment in our community, leading to better health in our community, and less cost to our community.”

Nicholas Hollan (Democrat): “Cincinnati has a long tradition of focusing on health care and our clinics play a critical role in our collective well being. As a healthcare professional, I am an ardent supporter of keeping the health clinics open and accessible to those individuals who desperately need them.”

Patricia McCollum (Independent): “The operation of public health clinics are beneficial for the health and safety of it’s citizens. It is our obligation to provide the necessary care for children, seniors and uninsured who have no other means to obtain basic care.”

Catherine Smith Mills (Republican): “We need to focus on the basic necessities: Safety, water and sanitation services, and then we should plan for future economic growth. I support health clinics if they are run in a sustainable matter with private/public partnerships to support any future planned growth.”

Sandra Queen Noble (Independent): “I am so for sure if someone brought harm to your family, you would change the world for them. On a daily basis, politicians produce the bitter taste of poverty economics, oversee public abuse, crimes against man's inhumanity toward man. I'm for 'No Heal, No Bill.'”

Jason Riveiro (Democrat): “Yes, and we can find more federal monies to address the serious health concerns in our city such as AIDS, birth rate, dental, etc.”

Chris Seelbach (Democrat): “100 percent, yes. Just as Alicia Reece and Laketa Cole worked hard to keep our health centers open, I pledge to continue their work. I stand strongly against the current conservative majority who want to close the health centers that over 35,000 residents use every year.

“And of these 35,000 residents who use our health centers, nearly all have no other option. In 2014, President Obama’s health care overhaul will dramatically change the way many low-income and struggling Americans receive health-care. In the mean time, I am strongly against closing our health clinics and look forward to seeing how the president’s health-care overhaul may change our current system.”

P.G. Sittenfeld (Democrat): “Yes, I do – and I have advocated Council to maintain their support for health clinics. Our health centers provide an important safety net that helps keep people out of emergency rooms where we all bear a greater expense. Additionally, within the next several years, our health centers will be able to continue to deliver a valuable service at significantly reduced cost to the city due to new health care legislation.”

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