New revelations continue to come out about the woman a TEA Party majority on the 100% Republican Ravalli County Commission. You won’t believe the latest from the Bitterroot Star. I’m not going to spoil it, you need to read the story for yourselves.
Local businessman Ron Oberlander pretty much summed up what everyone is thinking about the people who put this woman in the job. As David Erickson writes for the Missoulian, Oberlander said:
“I can only tell you as a business person my observation is I am surprised that the county commissioners did not do their due diligence,” he said. “This will be a lesson for any government agency when you hire someone, whether it is small business or government, even more so for government because you have the people’s trust. The county (commissioners) didn’t exercise their responsibility. It’s pretty obvious it was a political appointment. The wrong person got the job.”
This scandal falls on the heels of the last scandal which embroiled TEA Party Commissioners Suzy Foss, Ron Stoltz, and Jeff Burrows. The imbeciles eliminated all women’s health services from Ravalli County saying they did so to “reduce the national debt.” Yes, they are so dumb when it comes to money that they didn’t realize this money didn’t go back to the federal treasury but rather to every other county in the state which offers women’s health services. Eliminated services including breast and cervical cancer screening and even birth control, men’s testicular cancer screening, mammograms, breast cancer screenings, birth control, STD testing–but not abortion, the clinic they shuttered never provided abortion care.
Now volunteers are attempting to set up a women’s clinic for Ravalli County, whould could provide a temporary help for local women if the clinic can raise enough money to open it’s doors with volunteer health care providers and staff. The Sapphire Community Health Center, which closed in 2011 due to budget cuts, is launching the entirely volunteer-run Women’s Wellness Clinic in Ravalli County on March 1.
Ravalli County Commissioners shuttered the women’s health center that had operated in the county for more than 40 years by refusing to accept state and federal funds to operate the clinic. The clinic did not perform abortions, and the federal funding the county refused could not be used for abortion care.
Here’s what Heather Liebe, the Outreach Coordinator for Sapphire Women’s Wellness Clinic has to say about the plans–and how you can help these volunteers fill the gap in care for women the commissioners created.
In this country, we have long recognized that access to women’s health services is essential for healthy families and healthy communities. Yet, as healthcare options have expanded for millions of Americans around the country, options for low-income women in Ravalli County have only diminished.
Montana is one of twenty-three states that did not accept federal funds to expand Medicaid; and women below the poverty level do not qualify for health care subsidies under the Affordable Care Act. The Sapphire Community Health Center – the only state-funded community health center in the county – closed its doors in 2011 due to budget cuts. And, most recently, our county health department lost federal family planning funds, and ceased to function as a safety net for low-income women.
The loss of these essential services has predictable results. When women do not get annual exams, the rate of cervical cancer rises. When sexually transmitted infections go undiagnosed and untreated, women lose the ability to have children.
In an effort to fill the health care gap in Ravalli County, Sapphire Community Health recently developed an outreach program to provide health services to underserved women in our community. This outreach effort is staffed entirely by volunteers. Doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals in our valley are donating their time to make sure no woman in Ravalli County goes without necessary care. Sapphire Community Health has offered clinic space to these volunteer health care professionals.
These volunteer services are critical, but we cannot succeed without your support. Our goal is to raise $86,000 over the coming months to provide services for over 400 women in the next year. One-hundred percent of the funds we raise go to provide direct services to Ravalli County residents. We are working with a sense of urgency, knowing that there are hundreds of women for whom this outreach effort will be their only source of medical care.
On March 1st – with your support – we will begin offering services at Sapphire Community at 303 N. 3rd St. in downtown Hamilton. We will provide annual exams, cancer screening, sexually transmitted infection testing and treatment, and contraceptive services. We will offer these services to the women of Ravalli County regardless of their income, insurance status, or ability to pay.
Please consider a gift of $1000, $500, $150 or even $25. No contribution is too small. Your gift will assure that the women of our community do not lose access to these basic and necessary health services.
Thank you for your support,
You can also support the effort by attending a fundraiser: