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Hospital District Funds Only 2 of 6 Health Programs

September 19, 1985|GERALD FARIS | Times Staff Writer

Citing a need for more information, the South Bay Hospital District board delayed or turned down more requests for money than it approved as it made long-awaited decisions on funding six public health programs in three South Bay cities.

The board last week granted $32,000 to the South Bay Free Clinic to continue providing information on prescription drugs by telephone. The board said $4,000 of that money must be used to develop a marketing and fund-raising program to help the service become self-supporting.

A $50,000 request by the city of Hermosa Beach to develop a community child-abuse program was denied, and a decision was postponed on a program to assess resources and needs in child-abuse prevention in Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach and Redondo Beach. The three cities had jointly asked for $10,000, but the board said it needed more information about how the program would work and whether such assessments already have been made.

Project Heart Start, which provides training in cardiopulmonary resuscitation, was given $1,500 as a "challenge grant" to encourage help from other organizations. The project, which already gets space from South Bay Hospital and support from three other groups, had requested $4,000.

The board turned down a $35,000 request from Gratitude Retreat Foundation, which runs a 90-day residential program for sober alcoholics.

A $50,000 request from the Aladdin Infant Care Center Inc. was incomplete and could not be acted on, the board said.

Virginia D. Fischer, a member of the board committee that made recommendations on the grants, said the programs will "better the health of the entire community," adding that organizations that were turned down may apply again. Fischer said she hopes the board's action "will encourage those who have been watching and waiting to see what we would do" to submit proposals.

In all, the board--which has $900,000 available for the 1985-86 fiscal year--has approved nearly $320,000 in program grants. The largest grant by far, $286,000 for the second year of a long-term school nurse and health education program, was approved a month ago. The South Bay Union High School District and Manhattan Beach, Redondo Beach and Hermosa Beach elementary school districts are participating in that program.

In addition, the board has set aside $90,000 for emergency grants that may be required this year.

Political Bickering

The board, which became a foundation for public health programs in Redondo Beach, Hermosa Beach and Manhattan Beach after leasing South Bay Hospital to a hospital corporation last year, initially had planned to make decisions on grants in July. It was delayed, however, by political bickering among board members and the need to seek advice from grant experts.

Asked if the board expects criticism because it has allocated less than half of the available money, Fisher said, "It is very easy to give away money, but I believe it is harder to give away a good grant. I hope we are sending a message that we want good programs, that we want well-thought-out programs, and are not just going to be a soft touch."

Fischer said the district expected to receive more than six applications. "We were surprised," she said.

Already taking exception to one board decision is Hermosa Beach City Councilman John Cioffi, who criticized the denial of funds for his city's proposed child-abuse program. Fischer said the program was rejected because it would have funneled money to agencies that already have child abuse programs. She said those agencies should seek board money individually. But Cioffi said the grant request is for a program coordinator, adding, "it is not our intent to funnel money to others."

The board turned down Gratitude Retreat because its Torrance facility is outside the three beach cities and because it is unknown how many people from the three cities are served. Program manager Dick Price said the foundation is "disappointed" that it did not get money and said that about half of the 120 people who have gone through the program since last year are from the three cities. "We'll apply again," he said.

The Aladdin infant center also will reapply, said executive director Clara Whitman, adding, "We need the money." The center, which cares for 75 infants up to two years of age, lost its Redondo Beach home two months ago and is in temporary quarters awaiting word on its bid for a permanent site in Manhattan Beach.

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