Walnut Room this way

Walnut Room this way

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Already a Health Professional Shortage Area, Mississippi cuts public health social workers

A couple of years ago, I spent some time researching the potential for a grant.  Just about every county in Mississippi is a designated Health Professional Shortage Area--meaning, counties without adequate public health staff including nurses and social workers.  And now, social workers have been cut.  Ya'll all know why: the failure of our elected leaders to manage the budget in a responsible fashion.  In the mantra of "no taxes" for the wealthy, the poorest of the poor, chronically ill and disabled and elderly, have no social work services in the department of health in Mississippi.  Professionals who have dedicated their careers to public service (the real kind--serving people with critical needs, not the kind where you get elected and then ignore the people who are your employers while you rack up a nice pension, health care benefits, and a hefty salary at the expense of the taxpayer while denying those same opportunities to the taxpayer) lost their jobs this week.  People with chronic illness, like diabetes, high blood pressure, HIV/AIDS, and a host of other illnesses have no access to a social worker.  If one imagines how devastated those social workers must be, imagine how devastated the clients are.  It's a rocky road to travel with a social worker's services; alone, it is frightening and difficult.  I know; I worked public mental health services for most of my career, serving people with profound and disabling mental illness and mental retardation.

Some elected officials (and you know which ones) are blaming the snarled air traffic slowdown from laid off air controllers on President Obama for not "choosing" where to make the across the board austerity cuts they deemed necessary rather than raising taxes.  As someone who avoids air travel like the plague these days, I have no doubt it was a hardship on those folks who had to travel or chose to travel.

Maybe while they are sitting in the airport sipping their $5 lattes, or $9 cocktails, they can spend a few minutes to lift up the elderly and disabled in Mississippi who depend on public health services that are not there anymore.

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