Free health clinics were not spared Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's 7.5 percent cut for the budget year that starts July 1.
Linda West, executive director of the West Virginia Association of Free Clinics, told legislators Monday the cuts will mean about $300,000 less for clinics across the state.
A partnership between pharmaceutical companies and the state allows the clinics to turn $1 of support into $30 of service, said Patricia White, executive director of West Virginia Health Right, a healthcare provider for low-income people.
The clinics serve about 60,000 people every year, mainly those who are homeless or can't afford to go to a hospital, White said. They also serve military veterans who need additional support beyond what is provided to them after they leave the service, she said.
The clinics rely on volunteer practitioners, who often donate money as well as time, she said. Lines are out the door for the clinics so more support is always welcomed, she said.
Democrats Ricky Moye of Raleigh County and Clif Moore of McDowell County sang the praises of the free clinics.
Both said the clinics deserve more public support, and Moore pledged their proposed funding reductions would come to a vote.
Delegate Joe Ellington, R-Mercer, questioned whether the clinics could work more closely with local health departments to prevent some duplication of duties; White agreed there is some overlap but clinics and departments already work together and all are swamped with patients.
White and West spoke to the House Health Committee just to provide more information about the clinics. The committee took no official action.
* * *
On Monday morning, nearly everyone at the Capitol was asking the same question: "Who is making breakfast, and where can I get some?"
Indeed, the smell of frying pork products wafted across the Capitol Rotunda and its adjoining hallways. It didn't take long to find the man responsible.
John Guillot, owner of the Preston County Inn in Kingwood, was frying sausage made from pigs raised, slaughtered and processed by students at Preston County High School. He also was serving up silver-dollar pancakes using buckwheat flour from his home county.
Guillot and dozens of his neighbors converged on the Capitol Monday for "Preston County Day" at the Legislature. Businesses and organizations from all over the county attended and were officially recognized during both the House and Senate floor sessions Monday afternoon.