Tuesday, April 25, 2000

Care center seeks money

Butler leaders told of need

By Steve Kemme
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        HAMILTON — A group concerned about medical care for the uninsured and the underinsured in Butler County is proposing a new primary care health center in Hamilton.

        Money is the main obstacle, according to the Butler County Health Consortium, a volunteer group of health care professionals and community leaders.

        An estimated revenue of $150,000 to $217,000 from patient fees will cover only part of the center's costs, said David Ferrell, president of Mercy Hospital Hamilton/Fairfield, who leads the consortium.

        The consortium, which also was known as the Healthcare Leadership Group, will need an additional $500,000 a year for three years to operate the facility in the black, Mr. Ferrell told the Butler County commissioners Monday.

        The consortium is seeking annual contributions of $100,000 a year from Butler County, the city of Hamilton and the Hamilton City Community Foundation, and $50,000-per-year donations from the Mercy Hospital Foundation, the Health Foundation of Greater Cincinnati and Hospice of the Miami Valley.

        Mr. Ferrell presented the commissioners with health care statistics:

        Of 286 physicians surveyed by the Butler County Department of Human Services, only 27 are accepting new Medicaid patients. That includes just one pediatrician and one dentist.

        Butler County ranks as the fifth-worst of 62 designated medically underserved areas in Ohio, Mr. Ferrell said.

        Commissioners expressed support for the health center Monday. The commissioners committed $100,000 to the project a year ago.


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