Health departments face more cuts as demand for services grows

More cuts to Kentucky’s public-health system have been proposed at a time when the demand for services is growing, officials say. In his state budget proposal, Gov. Steve Beshear suggested public health cuts of 8.4 percent in each of the next two budget years, the same cut he recommended for most other state agencies.

“It’s going to have an impact on us being able to provide services (for poor patients),” Dr. Steve Davis, the acting public health commissioner, told the House human services budget subcommittee.
The cuts will mean “the 58 health departments that serve Kentucky’s 120 counties will have fewer resources to provide services such as immunizations, cancer screening, diabetes care and maternal and child care,” reports Deborah Yetter for The Courier-Journal. Public health will also likely be cut at the federal level. This budget year, public health received $239 million in federal funds. It received $59 million for its General Fund from the state, which would drop to about $56 million if the cuts pass.
Davis said there are no plans yet for how to absorb the cuts. “Every single program we have is going to be on the table,” he said. (Read more)
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