Michigan Live (04.09.13)
The Jackson County, Mich., Board of Commissioners soon will likely make a decision on whether the county should start charging a fee at the health department’s STD walk-in clinic for both non-residents and residents. The proposed fee would begin in late May or early June. The health department is currently $100,000 over budget. Board members will vote on the issue at 7:00 p.m. Tuesday, April 16, at the Jackson County Tower Building on the fifth floor in commission chambers.
The county’s human services committee is recommending a $10 charge for county residents and the actual cost of services for non-residents for walk-in services. This is the second recommendation, as the first vote was delayed one month. Jackson County is one of the few counties in Michigan that does not charge at its health department for STD testing, resulting in an increase in out-of-state and non-county residents. Mary Ricciardello, county director for personal and preventative health services, said Jackson County has not charged clinic users since the Family Planning Clinic closed in 2003. She stated, “We are averaging approximately 10 clients per month from surrounding counties and three per month from out-of-state.”
Some county board members are not pleased. Commissioner Dave Elwell declared, “I have a problem using our county taxpayer dollars for out-of-county and out-of-state residents.” Ricciardello is in the process of ascertaining what the cost for non-residents would be. Currently, the average laboratory cost for STD testing is $36 for males and $56 for females; however, Ricciardello is aiming for the health department to charge both males and females the same cost. Most of the costs cover the time nurses spend filling out paperwork, counseling, preparing specimens, and informing a client and his or her partner if the results are positive.