In response to Westchester County’s decision to cut funding to neighborhood health centers, Open Door Family Medical Centers is hosting a community meeting at St. Peter’s Church, 19 Smith St., Port Chester. The meeting was to begin at 5:30 p.m.
The 2013 county budget, approved in a contentious and high-drama vote on Friday, cuts $3 million in funding to the centers, including $1 million that would have been reimbursed by the state. For Open Door Family Medical Centers, that means a loss of $525,000 to screen and treat adult patients for tuberculosis and sexually transmitted diseases next year.
“They’re taking a minimalist approach to public health, and I don’t think a minimalist approach is appropriate,” said Open Door President and CEO Lindsay Farrell. “Especially not in a highly populated county like Westchester.”
Dr. Sherlita Amler, the county health commissioner, said today that screening and treatment for TB and STDs, along with some immunizations, are mandated services that will still be available for free through the county’s own clinics in White Plains and Yonkers.
“The health department has both the expertise and experience in providing these public health services to residents and is mandated by the state to do so for free,” Amler said. “This budget assures we will have the resources we need to get the job done.”
On its Facebook page, Open Door charged that the county is proposing to set up clinics “to essentially compete with the health centers in order to minimally comply with State mandates.” But Amler said the county is planning no changes to its health clinics.