After the bankruptcy, many of the first people to be let go were county
social services personnel. Waiting room attendance at clinics around the
county skyrocketed from 60 to 150 people, Share Our Selves officials
It was a time of frustration for many county social service agencies,
including Share Our Selves.
The privately funded, nonprofit organization rallied with other
health-care advocates in an attempt to get more than 130 positions
The county also cut off certain medical supplies to the agency, including
antibiotics. Share Our Selves paid for the items in order to continue
providing general care to the public. The county still has not reinstated
Share Our Selves for the supplies.
The agency started distributing food and financial aid in 1970 to
indigent people in the area. The free medical and dental clinics began in
1984 and 1987, respectively.
Mary Moyer, clinic nurse manager, said medical services for the poor have
become increasingly difficult to obtain since the bankruptcy. Since Share
Our Selves is a "last resort" clinic, many county residents who do not
qualify for other state or county medical programs arrive on the center's
The clinic helps more than 6,000 people, each of whom visit the clinic
twice a year.
"I have no insurance, so I come here," said Althea Johnson, 40, of Costa
Mesa. The clip for her dentures broke and she came to Share Our Selves
for dental services on Tuesday.
Juan Baltista of Costa Mesa, 36, got up at 5 a.m. Tuesday to get in line
at SOS for free dental care. On the first Tuesday of the month, people
from all over Orange County travel to SOS to sign up for dental service.
The clinic takes on 50 new patients per month.
Possibly the biggest current setback for SOS is the fight over tobacco
settlement funds designated to the county. Initially, the Board of
Supervisors planned to spend the settlement money on the county's debt
and the building of jails. But protests from the health-care community
have prompted closed-door sessions with county supervisors.
The allocation of the $912 million the county is to receiveover the next