You can always tell there's trouble when people start lying about money. When things are going as promised or better, there's never any reason to fudge about the numbers.
So you may recall how, over in Memphis, in order to keep scary, scary Planned Parenthood from getting funding, the state awarded Title X funds to Christ Community Health Services to provide healthcare to low-income Memphis folks. And you may recall how some of us had our doubts that CCHS would be able to reach into the community in the same way Planned Parenthood did.
They competed for funds for a program they don't have the staff to deliver. And yet somehow Planned Parenthood is the bad guy for sending them patients — the very patients that they said they could serve.
Well, it seems they couldn't actually serve those patients.
In a story in The Memphis Flyer, Hannah Sayle reports:
Christ Community Health Services, which received a $397,000 Title X contract with the Shelby County Health Department last October, only used $143,631 of its 2012 funding. The county health department did not use all of its Title X funding either, as was reported in last week's Flyer cover story.
All told, around $572,000 of Shelby County's $1,345,000 Title X grant did not get used between July 2011 and June 2012.
That's bad. The money they didn't use means patients they didn't see, tests they didn't run, healthcare they didn't provide.
But what's worse is that now there's the aforementioned lying about money. When The Memphis Flyer tried to find out if CCHS's inability to use all of the money they were granted by the state was going to affect the amount of money they were given this year — in other words, if the state lowered the grant amount because it believes that CCHS actually simply cannot serve the same number of patients as Planned Parenthood did — Yvonne Madlock, director of the county health department, couldn't give a straight answer.
The county health department has yet to release the Title X funding Shelby County received for fiscal year 2013. As of August 14th, Madlock said the state had not yet notified the county of the Title X award for fiscal year 2013. But Susan Barber of the state health department said otherwise.
Madlock now says she does know how much money the county has been given, but she's not going to tell anyone until she can inform CCHS. That doesn't exactly sound promising.
It appears the governor has put Memphis in an awkward position: In order for him to be sure that no money is going to Planned Parenthood — an organization that is not only known in but knows how to reach the community — Memphis has to accept that fewer people will have healthcare, and thus will have worse health outcomes than they would if they could regularly see a healthcare professional.
This is Gov. Haslam's great moral victory — more people who can't get healthcare, and fewer healthcare dollars in the Memphis community. It's a strange kind of moral victory, that's for sure.