The executive director of Health Ministries Clinic in Newton presented statistics about the clinic to the Board of Harvey County Commissioners at its meeting Monday before asking that the county give more than twice the financial assistance it has in the past.



The executive director of Health Ministries Clinic in Newton presented statistics about the clinic to the Board of Harvey County Commissioners at its meeting Monday before asking that the county give more than twice the financial assistance it has in the past.
Jerree Forbes briefed commissioners on the clinic’s history and funding sources, explaining the facility is trying to earn qualification as a Federally Qualified Health Center. Forbes said he is confident the clinic will meet the standards for the certification, which could allow Health Ministries access to direct federal funding.
Donations to the clinic are down 41 percent this year, Forbes said.
That includes private donations and contributions from state and local governments.
The loss in funding makes it difficult for Health Ministries to keep up with returning patients and the 115 new patients the clinic receives each month.
The clinic has seen demand for its services more than double between 2006 and 2009.
Most of the 2,803 patients it served in 2009 are uninsured. The clinic also sees patients on Medicare and Medicaid.
Before concluding his presentation to commissioners, he requested Harvey County increase its annual contribution to the clinic to $100,000. In recent years, the county has given $40,000 per year.
Commissioners took no immediate action on the request but asked some questions of Forbes.
He approximated 85 percent of the people seen at the clinic were from Harvey County, though the facility also serves McPherson, Butler and Marion counties.
Commissioner Marge Robberson suggested Forbes present at an upcoming meeting of the Council of Governments, which she chairs, to possibly appeal to other local governments for financial assistance.
The only local governments currently offering financial aid to Health Ministries are Harvey County and the city of Newton.
Also at the county commission meeting:
• Commissioners passed a resolution altering fees charged to the state for housing state prisoners at the Harvey County Detention Center.
The county now will charge $47.67 per day, up from $40, to offset costs.
Sheriff T. Walton noted the increased fee is the same as the county charges the federal government for housing offenders.
• The commission approved a noxious weed management plan, which specifies the type of chemicals to be used throughout the county on documented weed patches.
• The commissioners also voted to adopt the policy regarding dangerous and stray animals found in unincorporated areas of the county.
Last week, the commission approved an agreement with Caring Hands Humane Society in Newton to house the animals.