Jacksonville, FL — An organization that provides primary care to those in need in Jacksonville would lose close to half of its City funding, under the $1.2 billion proposed budget from Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry.
AGAPE Community Health Center receives most of its funding through the federal government, but CEO Mia Jones says the City stepped up to provide money last year, which helped match some State funding. Now, they’re in the process of trying to renew a three-year federal grant that’s reached an end, the State slashed the funding it’s handing down, and the proposed City budget drops this year’s $187,926 down to $100,000 for the upcoming fiscal year.
“It’s a difficult time,” Jones says.
Jones says the drop in City funding alone would mean not being able to serve about 700 patients.
“We just want to be able to provide services at the lowest cost point for our most vulnerable patients, so they don’t have to end up in the emergency room,” she says.
The City dollars covered providing services for uninsured patients and paying for lab work. Jones says about 60% of the people they serve are uninsured- providing physicals and other routine work that you do with your family health doctor. She says many low-income patients deal with chronic health issues that are worsened by a lack of care- like diabetes- and they aim to manage those ailments and prevent things from getting worse.
“We just have to be able to- as a community- make sure that the decisions that we’re making don’t cause us more because we thought we were simply cutting a budget, but then end up costing us because they’re going to the emergency room,” she says.
The City Council Finance Committee is poised to begin vetting the Mayor’s proposed budget, and Jones says she will be asking that they keep all of AGAPE’s funding intact.
WOKV continues to dig in to the budget proposal and will have full coverage as that takes place.