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Maine Voices: Facts Show Transfer of India Street Center’s Health Services Makes Good Sense

May 12, 2016

Featured in the Portland Press Herald

 

When Jon Jennings was hired as city manager of Portland, he made clear that he intended to evaluate everything the city does, with an eye toward “right-sizing” municipal government. His goals are: 1) to achieve efficiencies and increased productivity by better delivering those essential services that can be supplied only by the city; 2) to reduce costs; and 3) to improve customer service.

Reflecting these goals, his recommended operating budget, now before the City Council, proposes (among other structural changes) to transfer clinical health care services currently provided by the city’s India Street Public Health Center to the Portland Community Health Center.

Not affiliated with the city, this highly regarded nonprofit provides comprehensive, team-based primary care for underserved and vulnerable populations. This is the same treatment approach that the India Street clinic uses, and these are the same populations currently served at India Street.

Understandably, some clients of the India Street clinic and others in the community are concerned about the impact of this transfer on the essential services on which they depend. Unfortunately, in recent weeks, what has emerged is an emotional response to this issue, as opposed to the considered “community conversation” that City Manager Jennings envisioned.

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