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Cuts to medical care would harm farmworkers, kids

Some of our state’s most vulnerable workers and their children face a new hurdle accessing medical care if a budget proposal eliminating the Migrant Fee for Service Program goes through. 

The program, administered by the Office of Rural Health and Community Care, provided specialty and dental care for more than 2200 farmworkers and farmworker children last year.  The community and migrant health centers where farmworkers typically go for healthcare usually do not provide these services, so providers rely on being able to refer their patients to the care they need through the Fee for Service Program.  At around $200 per encounter, this is a cost-effective way of preventing emergency room visits and chronic health problems. 

Of course, it would be great if the General Assembly would recognize that employers in one of the state’s most hazardous industries should be required to provide workers’ comp coverage to their workers just like everyone else, but until then, and until growers provide private health insurance, these uninsured workers are going to need treatment – and the Fee for Service Program needs to stay in the budget.

6 Comments

  1. […] The Progressive Pulse – Cuts to medical care would harm … […]

  2. AdamL

    March 17, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    Some are arguing that even if voter ID costs the state $10 million, that’s a small proportion of the overall budget.

    Well, the migrant fee for service program costs $736,145.

  3. Ana

    March 17, 2011 at 3:42 pm

    Thanks AdamL, you completely hit the nail on the head.

    The fact is that this program is among the best-bang-for-your-tax-buck programs in the state. They provide specific (and extremely critical) medical services to the most vulnerable populations in NC, keeping folks out of costly ER facilities. I’d love to know what other programs in the state are doing so much for so many, and on such a lean budget.

  4. […] Read more at: Pulse.NCPolicyWatch.org,The Progressive Pulse, “Cuts to medical care would harm farmworkers, k… […]

  5. Chris

    March 18, 2011 at 9:48 am

    Agreed – it’s a crucial program that needs to stay. These are tough times, but we need to be smart about what we cut. ER visits are much more expensive for everyone that fee-for-service. Plus these are extremely vulnerable workers doing some of the most difficult work in the state. They should be protected.

  6. Carol Brooke

    March 18, 2011 at 12:37 pm

    Here’s some more information about the program:

    http://www.ncfhp.org/ffs.asp