Page images

Mesa County Migrant Council, INC.,

December 29, 1967. Hon. HARRISON A. Williams, Jr., Chairman, Subcommittee on Migratory Labor, U.S. Senate, Washington, D.C.

Dear Sir: The Mesa County Migrant Council, composed of representatives of clubs, agencies, lodges, churches and service organizations, urge the passage of S 2688 extending and increasing the present Migrant Health Act.

If the committee could see the splendid results accomplished with a modest amount of funds made available to us through the previous bill, S-1130, all doubt as to the efficacy of the program would be removed.

During the six months Mesa County has large numbers of migrant agricultural workers, a Public Health nurse visits the ranches, providing health teaching and counselling, screening for diseases such as tuberculosis, and giving immunizations. Night clinics are held during the fruit season when there is a tremendous buildup in the population of fruit areas. Medical care is provided over the entire county in any physician's office, without cost to the migrant. The doctor is reimbursed at a certain proportion of the Blue Cross fee.

The grower and the general population have benefited as well as the migrant. We cannot too heartily urge the continuation of this splendid program. Yours very truly,

Mrs. H. A. TALBOTT, Chairman, Migrant Health Committee.


Sarasota, Fla., December 19, 1967. Hon. HARRISON A. WILLIAMS, Jr., Committee on Labor and Public Welfare, Subcommittee on Migratory Labor, U.S. Senate, Washington, D.C.

DEAR SENATOR WILLIAMS: I wish to take the opportunity, so kindly afforded by your office, to comment on your Bill S-2688 to extend and expand the Migrant Health Act which will otherwise expire at the end of the current fiscal year.

By way of introduction, I would like to point out that I am now a local health officer with an ongoing Migrant Health Project and also a member of the U.S.P.H.S. National Migrant Project Review Committee. I was formerly Director of the Florida State Migrant Health Project as Director of the Bureau of Maternal & Child Health, Florida State Board of Health. In these capacities, as well as in previous local health work in Florida, I have been associated with Migrant Health programs for a period of over fourteen years. During these years I have observed Local, State and Federal programs from all three levels and feel better qualified than the average public health official on this subject.

The immediate reaction might be that I am a partisan representative, since I have an axe to grind as a Migrant Health Service Project Director. I do have an axe to grind, but not due to my connection with a Migrant Health Project! My axe, the one to which I have dedicated my professional career, is to assure to the best of my ability that every human being over which I have any jurisdiction receives every health service and every health protection that my staff and budget will permit. The $22,000.00 that I receive for the Migrant Health Project is a small part of our total operational budget of $500,000.00 annually. While it permits us to mount a program we could not otherwise fund, it is not enough to warrant a "personal axe letter”, unless this program were important to me for other reasons! It is!

I have seen migrant families living in pasteboard boxes, chicken coops, deserted automobiles and the back end of a stake-truck. I have looked into the eyes of dying infants who suffered from lack of food, clothing and similar items we consider as fundamental necessities of life. I have provided or recommended hundreds of dollars of remedial care to migrants who waited too long for $5.00 worth of care or who sought $1.00 worth of prevention and could not obtain it soon enough to forestall a serious illness.

I have also seen what a community can do, with only a few dollars, when a few concerned citizens take an interest in God's children. If our National Poverty and Foreign Aid Programs could be operated with the tight-fisted realism and dedication to service that I have observed in Migrant Health Projects, they would

cost much less and produce much more, I assure you. I have, incidentally, worked as a public health specialist in both Foreign Aid and 0.E.O. programs and know whereof I speak!

These are the reasons this program must be extended and expanded to permit wider participation, nationwide. As a member of the National Review Team I have been forced to reject basically sound projects due to the shortage of funds available to continue existing programs while attempting to add necessary new projects. Priority must go to the continuing projects, where a competent job is being done. Sometimes this must be at the expense of a new project which appears badly needed.

The Migrant Health Act has made a greater, more dramatic impact on the Health of Domistic Migrants in a shorter period than any other single project with which I am acquainted. The job isn't completed yet and should funds be withdrawn prematurely, much that has been done would be abandoned through sheer lack of adequate local resources to allow contamination. I wish to commend each of you who worked for passage and extension of the previous act. It wis truly a worthy a hirvement!

It has been said that Federally-sponsored programs never phase out, they just grow! I know this is not true because I have personally assisted in the phaseout of three federal projects in the past seven years. With continued support for our Migrant Health Project, in Sarasota County, I expect to phase it out in two to three years to make room so another needy area may participate. Our county will be ready and able to support the project by then and we fully expect it to do so within three years, maximum!

However, being familiar with each of the remaining two hundred projects in the Nation, I know that many of them will need at least five year's assistance. Many needy areas have no program as yet, they will need assistance, as we have, for five or more years in the future! The question is not, “can we afford to fund them, but can we afford not to”?

I submit that a Nation which can support a foreign war, good or bad-chosen or thrust upon it, cannot turn its back on the most impoverished Americans that one can imagine. You who put the people's will into action should get to know our Migrants. Ilave you ever really seen a migrant? Have you ever entered his hovel? Have you ever met him in the field or orchard? You cannot all see a Migrant Infant die (thank God), but you can all see a migrant family as it lives in our nation today! I commend this experience to you, you will never forget it! Every state represented on the subcommittee has migrants, so they won't be hard to find at home! There are also plenty in Virginia, Delaware and Maryland, no more than two hour's drive from Capitol Hill. Let the migrant help you decide how to vote on this critical Bill.

I have written similarly to my friend, Congressman Paul Rogers, and to my own congressman, James Haley. They are both fighting for Migrant Health, won't you do the same?

Please excuse this overlong letter. I get wound up on some subjects and, after all, you did invite my comments. Of course, you didn't ask for a book!

Gentlemen, give us the tools to work with a little longer and in adequate supply. I assure you we'll get the job done! Unlike Medicare, we won't take forever either! Best wishes for a successful year in 1968. Sincerely yours,


MPH, Director.

DELRAY BEACH, FLA., December 21, 1967. Hon. HARRISON WILLIAMS, Jr., Senate Office Buildin }, Il ashington, D).C.

DEAR Sir: Regarding S. 2658. We have a family owned farm which we have operated for the past 9 years growing to our present size of 150 acres of bell peppers. We employ 30 Puerto Rican workers (4 with families) from Septeniber to April

The migrant health services in Palm Beach County have been extremely useful in promoting better health among our workers and their families. I am sure I speak for the majority of the farmers in this area when I urge most strongly the continuation and expansion of the Public Health Service Act as it affects the migrants. It should be pointed ont that the past several years have seen a minor revolution in the agricultural economy. These people are being paid more money and in many cases they are assuming more permanent positions in the work force. It is to be hoped that by increased attention to the health and welfare of the children in particular that they will grow up ready and able to take their places in an economic climate radically different from that their parents faced. Very sincerely yours,



Sarasota, Fla., December 27, 1967. Senator HARRISON A. WILLIAMS, Jr., C'.S. Senate, Washington, D.C.

DEAR Sır: Referring to Legislation #S. 2688, which would extend the Migrant Act for five years and also expand the program to reach twice as many farm workers, as are now being served.

We wish to take an affirmative position on this legislation as we are very much in favor of its being extended as specified in Bill S. 2688. Very truly yours,



Springfield, December 27, 1967.
Re extension of Migratory Health Act (S. 2688).
Chairman, Migrant Health Subcommittee,
New Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C.

DEAR SENATOR Williams: The migrant health program in Illinois is nearing the end of its third year. We have been able to meet many of the needs of the migrants who come to Illinois but many objectives and needs are unmet.

Minimum health standards have not been achieved in some areas. Assistance is needed in order to bring housing conditions into compliance with the United States Department of Labor regulations.

Education for migrant children is also a pressing need compounded not only by lack of funds but also by the fact that it is necessary for children to work in the fields or care for their younger siblings during the day.

The above problem reveals the additional need for more day care centers. The 1968 migrant season will see the discontinuance of certain day care centers rather than the much needed expansion of this important program.

Family clinics and immunization programs would be of significant value to the migrant community. Growing interest in birth control is accompanied by fear that the cost makes it prohibitive. Education in this area would dispel misconceptions.

The five federal migrant health grants now approved in Illinois serving rly 11,000 migrants are as follows: Illinois Department of Public Health, Lee-Ogle and Vermilion Counties (MG 105C).

$25, 365 Princeville Migrant Health Services (MG 150A).

1, 683 Jones Memorial Community Center Migrant Health Clinic (MG 151A). 15, 891 Northwest Church Council for Migrant Aid, Inc. (MG 152)

10, 305 Rock Island-Vercer Migrant Family Health Service (MG 153)

10, 280 Total.---

- 63, 524 The greatest proportion of these grants goes to pay administrative expenses only; hospitalization and doctor bill requests in the grant are not enough. We have assisted in paying unpaid hospital and doctor bills which could not be collected, using Children's Bureau Funds.

Funds from the State of Illinois Children's Bureau-Fund A have been made available to the migrant program through December 31, 1967 for pregnant women and children under 19 years of age. A dental van has also been partially supported by these funds for those who qualify. Since these funds have been cut and are no longer available the only source of funding is through the USPHS grant.

The importance of expanding the program in Illinois cannot be overemphasized. In the past three years we have been able to help only a part of the migrant population. While the migrants and their employers have displayed a responsible

attitude toward payment of medical bills, there is still a great need for assistance in this area. Little is gained if a family comes to Illinois for a season of work and medical bills to be paid require all or most of the earnings. Better cooperation from local doctors and hospitals can be expected if they have more assurance that they will be paid for their services.

The great need for facilities necessary for basic hygiene make additional health education necessary since good health habits are difficult to maintain under these conditions.

The experience we have had with migrant health referrals has been most rewarding. There is, however, need for expansion in this area, especially in the area of more complete information and more time for follow up.

A total of $79,503 from the State of Illinois Children's Bureau-Fund A was paid for migrant health in the period July 1, 1966 through June 30, 1967. The withdrawl of these funds effective January 1, 1968, and the 1967 defeat in the Illinois State Legislature of a $200,000 bill for migrant health appropriations for the biennium means that additional USPHS funds will be needed until at least 1969.

An additional load is being placed on the migrant program because of unfavorable weather conditions in Texas, causing migrants to extend their stay in Illinois beyond the usual three months.

A budget showing additional needs above the present grants for the period July 1, 1968 through June 30, 1969 is attached. This is a conservative estimate of the additional needs in Illinois for the next year. Sincerely yours,


Director of Public Health. Needs in addition to present migrant health grants, July 1, 1968, to June 30, 1969 Personnel...

$22, 200

Program director..
Field coordinator @ $8,000. 3 mo/yr.
Clerk V; clerk steno II..

12. 000 2, 000 8, 200


5, 100

Telephone-authorization for hospital care.
Connection and utilities for trailers and van
Shipment of informational items, drugs, and biologics.
Utilities at Springfield and regions IDPH..

Upkeep on dental van and trailers.---
Travel (18 major areas and 20 smaller areas).

Program director (average $100 per month).
Field supervisor (average $250 per month).
Public health dentist services--dental van-remains in field April

to October (7 months) (average_month $350). Commodities.---

4, 400

2, 450

1, 100

Dental van commodities..

Gasoline, tires, etc., for van...
Printing: Spanish-English health information materials.
Equipment: Dental van—replacements per year..
Medical, nursing and public health services including hearing and vision

500 1, 000

screening, physical exams to enter schools and day care centers, nutrition services, nursing followup, immunizations, glasses, hearing aids, dental care, medical care, TB tests and X-ray, VD investigations, inpatient and outpatient hospital care (accidents more frequent, especially highway), and family planning

125, 000


159, 300


Muscatine, Iowa, December 28, 1967. Senator Harrison A. WILLIAMS, Chairman, Subcommittee on Migratory Labor, Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C.

DEAR SENATOR WILLIAMS: In reference to legislation S. 2688, as a grantee under the Migrant Health Act, the Muscatine Migrant Committee of Muscatine, Iowa, heartily supports Congressional efforts to expand the provisions of the Migrant Health Act and to extend it for five years or longer.

The availability of Federal funds in our area to which over 1300 migrant workers and their dependents came during 1967 has provided more adequate medical care for the migrants and has relieved the community of a residue of unpaid medical bills. The hospitalization component has been of the utmost importance in encouraging and helping to provide for hospital care before injuries and illnesses have reached acute stages. Dental funds are being used to save teeth which would otherwise be lost to decay. Through the weekly, evening family health clinic, medical needs have been brought to the physician's attention which in many cases would have been neglected as a result of the high cost of medical care.

Through the efforts of the staff provided for under the Migrant Health Act, the migrants are educated toward recognizing their health problems and toward becoming increasingly responsible for their own care.

More funds are needed, however, to extend the coverage of the existing provisions and to explore such possibilities as a federally financed group medical insurance plan for migrant agricultural workers and financial assistance to growers in the construction of adequate sanitary facilities.

We assure you that the availability of federal funds is making a significant and sometimes vital difference in the adequacy of medical care for the seasonal migrants in our area and that the extension these funds to assist with the costs of medical care for newly settled out migrants helps to ease the trauma encountered in that process. Through your efforts, there is a chance that our country's ne glected will take their place among our country's respected. Sincerely,

Mrs. Thomas B. MANTON,

Migrant Program Coordinator.


Des Moines, Iowa, December 19, 1967. Hon. HARRISON A. WILLIAMS, U.S. Senate, Washington, D.C.

DEAR SENATOR WILLIAMS: I would like to go on record as supporting the extension of S. 2688, which would prolong the Migrant Health Act for a five-year period. Very truly yours,


Executive Director.


Topeka, Kans., December 29, 1967. Re S. 2688, extension of Migratory Health Act. Senator HARRISON WILLIAMS, Jr., Chairman, Committee on Labor and Public Welfare, Subcommittee on Migratory

Labor, New Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C. DEAR SENATOR WILLIAMS: For the past four years, I have been privileged to serve as the medical director for the Migrant Project in Western Kansas. I am heartened that legislation has been introduced to extend the Migrant Health Act for an additional five years, as our efforts over the past years in changing cultural patterns in acceptance of medical care are only now becoming realized. The state and local health services in rural areas of Kansas are presently inadequate to meet the needs of the resident population and cannot cope with the health problems presented by migrant families,

We have been well pleased with the flexible and innovative handling of the project grants which has encouraged experimentation in the delivery of services. It also made it possible to demonstrate for a wide geographic area, a regional health service staffed by a public health teain. This may point the way for reor

« PreviousContinue »