Hector H. Sandoval, Steven Rowe, Anita Walsh, Colleen K. Porter
June 2016

Florida’s Indigent Health Care program in Polk County ensures quality healthcare for its low-income residents. The program’s funding stems from its voter-approved one-half cent sales surtax, an initiative that has enabled the provision of medical and dental services to individuals in need for over a decade. 

This report was conducted by the University of Florida’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research to study the far-reaching impacts of the Indigent Health Care program.  

The research results paint a compelling picture: 

• To sustain the Indigent Health Care program’s current level of operations, Polk County’s direct property tax rate would need to be increased an estimated 1.3391 mils, reinforcing the vital role of the one-half cent sales surtax. 

• The Indigent Health Care program is a cornerstone in the Florida’s healthcare rankings. Without the program, Polk County’s rank would decrease, which leaves a large portion of its county population without coverage. 

• Beyond providing healthcare, the program itself has increased local economic growth with about 177 jobs directly linked to its existence. 

• Polk County residents have readily available access to regular primary healthcare, which, in turn, reduces emergency room congestion and increases the rate of preventable hospitalizations. 

• The availability of local licensed primary care physicians has increased, which contributes to the improvement of overall health outcomes.