Clipped From The Corpus Christi Caller-Times
Corpus Christ! Caller-Times, Sun.. May 19,1963 Welfare Fares Well, But... Now the Need Is for By CLIFF LAAVHORNE Proposals now are being studied for public health and welfare centers at the Robstown Migrant Later Camp and at Corpus Christi's Memorial Hospital to solve what Dr. W. R. MeUger calls a severe need for more welfare space. Mutzger, director of city - .-ounty health and welfare, says the proposal for the labor canip at Robstown is only in the talking stage. However, official consideration is being given to the .Memorial Hospital center. Currently, health and welfare operations are spread out in 1.6 different buildings over (he county. Mctxger savs the current spac:e needs to be doubled. A study of space needs shows that the 23,455 square feet of floor space now in use needs to be expanded immediately to 47,827 square feet, he said. The current space will need to be tripled-to 61,520 square feet--by 1970 or seven years from now, the study shows. Metzger said the Memorial Hospital annex, to be abandoned by hospital officials when a new wing is completed, would provide 40,000 square feet or more if an architectural study shows the structure to be suitable. Many of the 13 buildings being used for health and welfare purposes in Corpus Christi are not suitable for the operations, he said. In particular he mentioned the maternity care center at Morgan and Sabinas, terming it "pretty shoddy." The Counly Commissioners Court is now discussing the Memorial proposal with architects, "and unlil this is settled, we can go no further with development in Corpus Chrisli," Met/gcr said. The problem, he said, is that all over the county well in excess of 100,000 patient visits are recorded each year to welfare facilities, and the facilities are not adequate. A pressing need also exists in Robstown, he said, where there are three different welfare and health buildings to serve the people. "My personal impression is that it would be economical and financially sound to rehabilitate a portion--about 10 units -- of the Robstown Migrant Labor Camp and make it into a health and welfare center." Tiie camp has about 70 units. Metzger said tlie entire camp could be remodeled to look "like a multi-million dollar motel." Metzger said that more than 50 per cent of the people in Robstown receiving health and welfare aid are migrants. He said the proposed center also would provide for migrants and as such would be eligible for slate and federal assistance. Present welfare regulations prevent care for persons not residents of the county who are more than 16 years of age. Migrants under 16 can get care at Driscoll Hospital. Metzger currently is discussing the Robstown center with the local medical association and state officials. He has an eight-page study prepared on the proposal. He told the executive committee of the medical society this month that the area should receive 5181,000 from the federal government in a three-year period for medical care for indigent migratory workers. Metzger said despite some poor facilities in Nueces County, "this city and county have one of the best tax-supported health and welfare programs in the state." It is the highest in the state so far as dollars per capita are concerned, he said. Currently, the city and county welfare budget calls for outlay, of about $850,000 in local tax monies each year. This includes about $350,000 for welfare and 5500,000 for health programs. This does not include the Memorial Hospital charity care, which would run the total outlay well over $1 million. Metzger said the development of programs here has been progressive but that public officials have decided. "and I think correctly so, that we should have the personnel rather than the facilities" Now the push is for facilities, he said. Another factor in the need for more floor space is the proposed expansion of state welfare operations here, W. P. Midkiff, regional director of the state welfare department, has notified local officials that his staff here will be increased by about 12 persons and more space is needed. The county provides space for the state welfare office, which currently is spending 53,690,924 annually on Nueces County citizens receiving state aid. This figure was presented by Midkiff, who says the state helps 3,271 individuals tlirough old age assistance, aid to needy blind and aid to disabled, plus some 568 families with 1,736 children through aid to dependant children. Also under the medical vendor program, sponsored through the federal government, the state paid 1,104 hospital admissions here and averages 109 old age assistance recipients in nursing homer,. Metzger said the state office wants the entire building at 1810 Howard when the staff is increased here. Currently, the state office and the city-county welfare office is housed in the building. Buildings operated by the health and welfare department are the health building on Shoreline, the venereal disease clinic at 301 Culberson, the chronic disease division on Nineteenth St. five nursing clinics on Sabinas, Morgan, Sixteenth, Ayers and Winnebago, the welfare building on Howard, a child welfare building at 1733 Brownlee, adult parole on South Staples, parent-child guidance center on Alameda and commodity distribution centers here and in Robsrown. On welfare costs, Metzger said the county pays 70 per cent and the city 30 per cent. On health costs the city .pays 40 per cent,'the state pays 40 per cent and the county pays 20 per cent be said.