Indigent health care changes under scrutiny

10/15/08 Mitch E. Perry
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Hillsborough County Commissioners, led by Rose Ferlita, lashed out at members of the County’s Health & Social Services today after they switched the vendor they use with their indigent health care program without consulting County Commissioners.

A letter was sent in late September to those on the plan that announced that the county would no longer be using their provider to purchase pharmaceutical drugs as of Oct. 1.

Ferlita said that letter was quite alarming to many of those who read it. And it led Ferlita to begin a heated series of exchanges with the agency’s head, Dave Rogoff. Ferlita called the letter sent to patients with the county’s indigent health care system "a pitiful excuse of customer service," and she questioned how the agency could make a change without consulting the County Commission.

Rogoff responded that last year, the county paid the vendor, Clinical Pharmacology Services, over$1 million. But he said that it was easy to go with a new company, because it offers not just the same quality of care but actually more, and comes cheaper, at $800,000.

The county will continue to use the vendor, Clinic Phamacology Services, until Nov. 15.

There was much hand wringing on the Board about a transition to the new vendor.

Commissioner Jim Norman said the county was in an awkward position because they did not make the decision. Norman, like other commissioners insisted that they had no issue with the new vendor, but said they hated they had no say in it.

Commissioner Mark Sharpe was the chairman of the committee that overhauled the indigent health plan. He said the biggest frustration he had then and still has is how to get more people who need the program on to the plan.

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