Local and Community News
San Francisco Department of Public Health Spares Prevention but Cuts Services in Budget Proposal
February 18, 2003
By cutting nearly $17.5 million from its proposed budget for fiscal 2003-2004, the San Francisco Department of Public Health is slashing funding to support services to people with HIV/AIDS. "This is the worst year for the health department in the last eight years," said Health Director Dr. Mitch Katz. "These cuts are extremely painful and are occurring in areas already with unmet needs."Adapted from:
At the same time, DPH is maintaining its current funding level for prevention and has allocated an additional $150,000 in next year's budget to syphilis control. The funds will be matched by CDC to pay for syphilis surveillance and prevention efforts. The city's Health Commission now must approve DPH's budget and will be holding public hearings this month to discuss proposed cuts. After that, the mayor's office must approve the budget before sending it to the Board of Supervisors, who must finalize the budget by June 1.
Two of the hardest hit agencies are the AIDS Health Project and Shanti, with both agencies likely to see $400,000 cut for emotional and practical support to people with HIV/AIDS. Nearly 900 clients would be impacted at AHP, and an additional 600 clients at Shanti would be without services.
Shanti would have to lay off six employees who train and coordinate the volunteers who assist clients in getting to and from medical appointments, ensure clients take their medication, and assist with housework and grocery shopping. Already facing its own budgetary problems and layoffs, San Francisco AIDS Foundation would lose $139,172 for its AIDS hotline, which answers 24,000 calls per year from city residents.
More reductions could be in store, as the mayor's office is requiring DPH to present a contingency plan with an additional $28 million in cuts. A final plan is not due until March 15. Already, DPH has said it would reduce $1 million in HIV/AIDS prevention funding, and most likely close one or more of its eight community health centers, as well as possibly selling off the land, if it had to implement the contingency plan.
Bay Area Reporter (San Francisco)
02.06.03; Matthew S. Bajko
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.