For the first time, the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners held a budget public hearing before County Manager Dena Diorio presents her budget. It gave them the opportunity to hear the priorities of the community from the community.
The public hearing was held on January 15, 2019. Over 40 speakers signed up, including me.
Tera Long and I were there to discuss access to healthcare.
My speech was as follows:
Good evening, Commissioners, and thank you for the opportunity to speak.
I became passionate about healthcare twelve years ago after I was permanently harmed by an antibiotic called Levaquin for an infection I didn’t even have. I went from having a cough to being disabled in less than a month because no one told me that it is risky when inappropriately prescribed.
I began by advocating for myself. Now I do this nationally to help other patients who don’t have a voice, or who don’t know where to turn after suffering adverse events from medications and medical devices.
I also have Lyme disease, neurological problems, a condition where my blood pressure drops to dangerously low levels, and a potentially fatal blood disorder. This requires a lifetime of medical testing, medications, and close monitoring so I can at least have a quality of life while I have the privilege of being alive.
My journey over the last twelve years shined a light on the need for access to health care. People in this community, as well as nationally, are dying because they don’t have access to quality healthcare. Healthcare should be a right, not a privilege. When a patient has to decide between providing for their family and paying for life saving medications or tests, something is very wrong.
I am here today to respectfully ask you to fund the health department. There are two reasons why this is important. The first one being that the Health Department provides information about health insurance, affordable healthcare, and public health. The second reason is that the Health Department does have longstanding issues that I staunchly believe can be fixed with proper funding. We are talking about matters of literal life and death. In addition, patient information is rampantly mishandled, based on the county’s own internal audit department, and by national consultants. Assuming patients have access to healthcare at all, wait times for patient care is increasing and patients are dying as a result. With proper resources these and other issues are fixable and therefore helps patients to receive affordable and safe healthcare. I believe that we can all work together to provide patients in this county better health resources.
Thank you for your time and for all you do for Mecklenburg County.
The Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) are set to go on retreat to discuss the budget. Based on the sheer number of people who attended and spoke at the meeting, they have a lot to think about. Thank you to the BOCC for hearing from the community about what is important to us and how we can work with you to find out the priorities of our great city.