Budget Strain Fueling Cuts to Shasta County Public Health Programs
Declining funding levels have compelled the Shasta County Public Health Department to enact significant cuts to immunization, education and prevention programs, the Redding Record Searchlight reports. Â
Donnell Ewert, director of the department, said the county's public health programs lost $1.2 million last year and are expected to lose another $800,000 or more this year.
A public health staff report evaluated the impact of the cuts andÂ estimated that:
- Eliminating HIV testing and counseling affected about 345 residents;
- Scaling back immunization clinics affected about 1,338 people; and
- Terminating three pediatric dental programs affected about 1,608 children.
Ewert said cutting such preventive services could create larger long-term costs if residents begin developing health problems later in life.
He also noted that the health department's staffing has decreased from 160 employees in 2008 to 135 today.Ewert said that the department is pursuing grants and other funding sources to prevent further program cuts. He added thatÂ it currently is competing for a tobacco prevention grant from the 2009 federal economic stimulus package (Winters, Redding Record Searchlight, 3/11). 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.