Originally created 08/31/97

Responds to complaint about treatment

Re the Aug. 24 letter where a person takes offense at "treatment by clinic":

Georgia state law requires children born after Jan. 1, 1992, receive the Hepatitis-B series prior to entering kindergarten. The Hepatitis-B vaccine is a very safe, synthetic immunization that prevents the disease Hepatitis-B. Complication from the disease can lead to chronic liver disease and hepatocellur cancer. In the United States, 4,000 to 5,000 people die each year from chronic liver disease.

The simple administration of the Hepatitis-B vaccine is the most effective means of preventing this chronic disease. The vaccine is recommended and endorsed by the Center of Disease Control, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices.

Vaccine for children (VFC) is funded through various sources both state and federal. These sources pay for the vaccine but do not include funding for personnel or supplies. Vaccine for children is available through the health department as well as participating physicians.

Everyone knows health care is extremely costly and a very volatile political issue. Health care is not free in this country even at the health department clinics. In Georgia, clients are billed according to their ability to pay. Some clients pay 100 percent for services, some pay nothing at all. No one is refused services if they are unable to pay. This policy is often misconstrued and clients may feel they are being treated with "disrespect," when the billing policy is explained to them.

Many think their tax dollars fund all services provided at the health department. Unfortunately this is not true in the state of Georgia.

The Georgia Legislature overwhelmingly approved the requirement for the Hepatitis-B vaccine as a requirement for entry into kindergarten and the health department is carrying out this mandate.

Rose T. DeLoach, R.N.. Appling

(Editor's note: The author is nurse supervisor at the Harlem/Grovetown Clinic.)


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