Tuesday, April 18, 2017

CD 9 Matt Pina

Candidates for elected city offices were all asked the same questions by the Bexar County Medical Society and have submitted answers to those questions as shown below. 
This information is provided as a service from the Bexar County Medical Society, but is not an endorsement.
BCMS does not make endorsements of any candidates for office nor of elected officials. 

Matt Pina
City Council District 9
2017 Mayoral/City Council Candidates

Health Care Questions

1.   Despite affecting everyone in this community, "community health and wellness" has not been a big priority at City Hall. "Community health and wellness" had one third of the ranking that "streets" received in community input via SpeakUPSanAntonio. Yet it impacts our well being, workforce, economic development and the prosperity of San Antonio.
What health-related areas do you think deserve increased attention, priority, and local resources, and, if elected, how would you elevate the discussion of these health issues at City Hall and lead effective action to improve health and healthcare in our community?

                I would focus on maternal and child health, especially preconception healthcare. To decrease the health equity gap, we need to start at the beginning. This is even before parents think about conceiving. A high rate of children are born into families where they were unplanned. The lack of educational and economic ability to plan accordingly has a generational compounding effect.  Having an unplanned pregnancy leads to a fetal environment that is at risk, examples include low amounts folic acid during the beginning stages of development and/or unhealthy behaviors, such as drinking alcohol.
In San Antonio, the number of women who access prenatal care has fallen since 2010. Often births that have had no prenatal healthcare lead to lower birth rates and high risk deliveries. Creating increased attention on health prior to conceiving will lead to a healthier population. I recommend partnering with our communities and schools to discuss what it means to be healthy.

2.  Bexar County is the primary source of funding for indigent health care in our area through the Bexar County Hospital District and University Health System. How would you, if elected, promote cooperative efforts to increase services and access to care for the citizens of San Antonio?

                We cannot expand funding in a direction where there is not enough data to explain a) if the current population who would qualify for indigent health care is receiving the services b) if they are not, why so and c) who is the population that needs access should the services be expanded.

More importantly trying to raise the funds for these services through private means as the data is starting to suggest that there are negative effects for our poorest community members when we use public funds over long periods of time.

3.  The disparity of health care between our poorest and wealthiest zip codes/districts is quite striking (Bexar County Health Collaborative 2016 report). How would you, if elected, reduce health disparities and improve health outcomes for our lower income communities/citizens?

                Preventive medicine, in a way, is diet. A healthier diet and exercise is often cited as a way to avoid certain diseases and illnesses, like diabetes mellitus. San Antonio has wide food deserts and most of the impacted areas are lower on the socioeconomic scale. We need to partner with local organizations to find healthy low-cost food solutions. The other side is economic, currently the city has created stagnant economic policies that prevent our poorest citizens from granting youth opportunities and old age security.  Nothing creates a bigger disparity of health then a lack of a job.

4.  San Antonio has a high incidence of obesity and diabetes mellitus and has been ranked as high as second in the nation for obesity in recent years. Past city efforts attempting to improve these rates, such as trying to reduce the prevalence of sugary drinks in our community, have been met with controversy. What ideas do you have to reduce the incidence of these chronic health issues?

                I do not think that we can regulate the prevalence of sugary drinks. This will not change the cultural dynamic of consumption. Over the years there has been great strides and programs to increase healthy activity in both children and adults.  Síclovía for example has been great at bringing out people who would normally stay in. However, as we change the infrastructure of the city we need to make sure its friendly towards walking and biking. The idea is to create cultural shift towards health not just create programs.
5.  According to the CDC, child abuse and neglect are serious problems that can have lasting harmful effects on its victims. The goal in preventing child abuse and neglect is clear — to stop this violence from happening in the first place. What local policies, resources and efforts will you support to promote safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments for all children and families?

                I would work to develop programs with and through community leaders and schools dedicated for parent(s) to learn parenting techniques. Often abusive behavior can stem from personal frustration as a parent, so increasing the parent’s self-efficacy to guide and correct their child in a healthy way will prevent harmful behavior. To help with neglect, the parent(s) need to be receiving their own needs. Other policies will trickle into helping stop child abuse by creating a good economy in San Antonio by decreasing barriers for small businesses.