Truckee health clinics survive for now | SierraSun.com

Truckee health clinics survive for now

David Bunker

Truckee wants to keep its community health clinics. That was the message almost 60 people delivered to the Nevada County Board of Supervisors by way of a video conference Tuesday.Nevada County is considering phasing out the Truckee clinics by June 2005 by referring patients to the Tahoe Forest Hospital Clinic instead. The object, according to the county, is to eliminate the duplication of services in the area.But during a packed public comment session at Truckee’s Joseph Government Center on Tuesday, everyone from local teens to Truckee Mayor Josh Susman contended that there was no duplication of services, and that the clinic was a vital service to the community.”The Truckee clinic primarily serves the low-income, the uninsured, seasonal workers, our teens and young adults,” said Ruth Hall, the eastern Nevada County director for Sierra Nevada Children’s Services. “No medical clinic in Truckee duplicates the unique and essential services the Truckee community clinics provide.”The clinics, which are located in the Joseph Government Center, provide confidential and friendly health service to teens and Hispanics, many in the audience said during the conference.Sheryl Da Silva, a member of the Sierra Human Resources Association, said that human resources departments from across the area know the clinic well and refer employees to the facility.”The clinic has been a valuable resource for us and we are always sending our workers there,” Da Silva said. “It’s an awesome resource for the uninsured.”Arnoldo Torres from the California Hispanic Healthcare Association said that most of the people served by the clinic are the fastest growing population in California – uninsured workers.”We, in fact, believe this clinic can be expanded to become a full service clinic,” said Torres, who offered free assistance to the county in working out a plan to keep the clinics open. Three high school students who spoke to the supervisors said that teens that use the clinic would not go to the hospital. The clinic offers counseling referrals and education on tobacco, alcohol and drugs in addition to contraception and reproductive health services, the teenagers said.Truckee Mayor Josh Susman called the clinic an “incredibly valuable asset.””You, the board, should be very proud of what you have created here in Truckee,” he said. At least 12 Truckee locals spoke before the supervisors before they decided to cut off public comment to take action and continue the meeting.The supervisors continued the public hearing to June 22. The county budget will be finalized at that meeting, which will also be available by video conference for Truckee residents. Whether the Truckee clinic will be funded for another full year will be decided at that meeting. Hall, Susman and others are requesting that a working group come together to streamline the clinics so that they can continue functioning in Truckee.