Budget Cuts to Health Programs Hitting Hard in San Joaquin Valley
County health officials throughout the San Joaquin Valley are scaling back services in the face of budget cuts just as they are seeing demand for services increasing, the Fresno Bee reports.
As unemployment has increased during the recession, more people lost employer-sponsored health coverage and became uninsured.Â
County health departments' challenges were underscored by a drop in revenue from state vehicle license fees as fewer Californians bought new cars.
Moreover, county health officials worry that more budget cuts could be on the horizon.
Many counties have eliminated staff positions in their health departments, translating to less frequent visits, more remote consultations, longer wait times and the elimination of some services altogether.
For example, Fresno County nurses no longer visit all tuberculosis patients daily, and Fresno and Madera counties have eliminated mobile immunization clinics for children and teen pregnancy prevention services.In addition, with fewer administrative staff to process applications, it is taking longer to determine eligibility for programs like the California Childrenâs Services program, which diagnoses and authorizes treatment for cystic fibrosis, heart disease, cancer and other serious health conditions in kids (Anderson, Fresno Bee, 3/17). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.