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Services Cut At San Joaquin General Hospital

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(Sacramento, CA)
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Ogechi Achunine is a patient at San Joaquin General's Oncology Clinic. The facility treats patients with cancer…as well as people with AIDS, Hepatitis C…and the condition that Ahchurnenah has: sickle cell anemia. She urged supervisors to reject plans for reducing the clinic's operations hours.
"I've been around this disease my entire life. I've been around cancer patients my life. I'm receiving blood, they're receiving their chemotherapy. It will affect us in a very big way if it's cut down from 5 days to 3 days."
But hospital officials say they're running out of money because a growing number of their patients don't have health insurance. And they need to come up with a more economical way of providing service. Kenneth Cohen heads the county's Health Care Services.
"If we felt the quality of the service was impaired in some way we would not do this. We are providing the service in a more efficient, more effective way."
Supervisors voted to cut the Oncology Clinic's hours of operations. They also decided to tighten the eligibility requirements for low-income patients who qualify for the hospital's financial assistance program. Another plan to eliminate the hospital's neuro-trauma center will be taken up in June. But county officials say the cuts still won't put the hospital in the black.
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