Health care promises create questions

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 15, 2005

LINDEN-A town hall meeting on the campus of Judson College earlier in the month discussed the leaps and bounds that have been made in the area of health care in our region. However, not everyone’s questions were answered by the presentations of the meeting. South Marengo County appeared to have approval and funding in place for a health care clinic, however, the project seems to have hit a roadblock as far as funding is concerned.

Marengo County Commissioner Max Joiner said he thought all the proper steps had been taken only to find out they had been forgotten.

“I had gotten word that the health care clinic for the lower part of the county had been approved,” Joiner said. “But they didn’t fund it. It was inconceivable to me that they would go to the trouble to approve a project but would not put any money into it.”

Joiner said upon further inquiry they found out all of the health care money they thought was going to come to the Black Belt had gone to the urban areas again. Joiner said they had worked hard to get the people of South Marengo County together to show how serious the need for health care in the area was.

“I can’t seem to get a good explanation of why we continue to go through this,” Joiner said. “We put 1,000 people together in rural Marengo County expressing their need for health care and got the project written, approved and got everything put in order and didn’t get any money.”

Commissioners agreed they needed to seek answers from Washington and other leaders. Joiner said it was disheartening to him to see the same funds every year to the same areas and never to West Alabama.

“It would seem to me that if the project was worthy of approval it was worthy of some money,” Joiner said. “Instead of sending all the new money that was put with these health dollars in Washington to the same people that get them every year. They are going to Mobile and Birmingham, but none of this money is coming to rural West Alabama.”

Commission Chairman Freddie Armstead said the county needed to contact as many local leaders as they could to get answers. He suggested they voice their concerns through a resolution to their Congressman and Senator and voice concerns on the lack of health care that is provided in Marengo County.

Armstead said they could not sit idly by and watch funds go to other areas when the people of Marengo County were in need.

“Somewhere down the line we have to stand up,” Armstead said. “We have to say you keep coming back and saying you are going to do this and do that and keep bringing committees. We give them exactly what they say they need to be funded, but you still don’t fund us.”

Armstead said they would take immediate action to get answers.

“They do everything but fund us,” Armstead said. “Why not? We need to see this done and I think it needs to be done with a strong voice from our attorney.”