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The State of Health Care in America

July 02, 1989

In his June 11 column "Taking Responsibility for Medical Care," Dr. Vance Gardner challenged all segments of the county community to create a task force to tackle the tough issues of providing health care for the people of Orange County.

Gardner and others may be glad to know that United Way has already taken up this challenge: The United Way Health Care Task Force has been working since 1986 with representatives from the public and private sectors to identify and resolve health care issues. The Orange County Medical Assn., the Orange County Chamber of Commerce, the Orange County Employers Health Coalition, the County Health Care Agency, the Hospital Assn. of Southern California, California Health Decisions--as well as organized labor, the insurance industry and others--are all part of this voluntary cooperative effort.

In June of 1987 the United Way Task Force published a report, "Orange County's Health Care Crisis," which pointed out that 16% of our residents are deprived of health care.

As a result of the panel's cooperative work with county government, more than $6 million in state block grant funds were dedicated to health and related services. In 1988, the Task Force convened community clinics from throughout the county in a unique effort to decide cooperatively how to allocate $300,000 among themselves.

Under the leadership of Chairman Chauncey Alexander, the United Way Task Force is continuing work to develop the cooperation and resources needed to alleviate the current crisis in health care. Particular attention is being given to the county budget, equity of state funding, the improvement of information and referral services as well as to the problems of UCI Medical Center and the provision of indigent health care.

We would welcome the opportunity to work with Gardner and others, for, as Gardner declared: "If we work together, we still have time to circumvent tragedy."



United Way of Orange County

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