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Health clinic in Kings County may close

Kings County Supervisors voted to close a health clinic but some residents are fighting to keep it open.
(Joe Ybarra Reporting)

A Kings County health clinic could be closing soon. 

Kings County Supervisors voted to shut it down a few weeks ago, but the decision isn't sitting well with some people, and they are trying to save the clinic.

The clinic is set to close in about six months, so there is time to save it, but the board would have to reverse the decision, which is not likely. 

Kathy Mittleider is rallying for support. She's a supervising nurse at the reproductive health clinic and she's trying keep it from closing. "The clinic has been around for a long time. It's respected and trusted by the community," said Mittleider.

The clinic is running out of money and Director of Public Health, Keith Winkler, says it needs $1.5 million a year to stay open, but it's not generating enough revenue. "Our realignment funds have been steadily declining to the point where we expect them to be virtually depleted if it was to continue for another year," said Winkler.

Winkler took that information to the County Board of Supervisors a few weeks ago, and the board voted 4-1 to shut the clinic. 

Winkler says it was a difficult decision, but also says there are 18 other clinics in the county providing the same services. "They are distributed widely throughout the county so they are very accessible. They have hours that are extended and in most cases beyond what we have," said Winkler.

Mittleider doesn't agree with Winkler and says other clinics can't match the care that her facility provides, especially when it comes breast and cervical cancer screening and preventing teen pregnancy. "These patients will get lost and our services are more specialized. The services out there are more general and not specialized like we provide." 

Winkler says the decision isn't final and the Board of supervisors could reverse it, but says the money will run out and the clinic would have to close anyway. 

The closure isn't on the board's agenda for Tuesday but there will be people there rallying to save the clinic. 
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