California: Supervisors Cut Health Services
October 9, 2008
On Tuesday, Fresno County supervisors reluctantly approved significant cuts to Department of Public Health programs. Tuesday's hearing was the second on plans for trimming $1.6 million from the department this fiscal year. Another hearing on the DPH budget will be held Oct. 21.
By a 3-2 vote, the board eliminated public health laboratory screening for HIV, hepatitis, syphilis, rubella and other communicable diseases. The county now must send samples to neighboring health department labs or to private labs, possibly increasing the time people must wait for results.
Fresno County will continue to test HIV/AIDS patients for levels of virus in their blood, said Health Director Dr. Edward Moreno. It will also continue running tests for chlamydia, gonorrhea, rabies, and TB, he said.
The board approved trimming administrative costs and cut positions for restaurant inspections, STD management, paramedic training, and childhood vaccinations. However, it balked at proposed cuts to night medical shifts at the jail and juvenile-justice campus. These cuts would have saved around $1.3 million annually.
Supervisor Susan Anderson, a dissenter, said she believes cutting health services is a mistake and that the county should use general-fund money to support DPH. "I believe public health is a part of public safety," she said.
10.07.2008; Barbara Anderson
This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update. Visit the CDC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.