Contra Costa County Budget Stretched Thin By Rising Health Costs
The Contra Costa County Department of Health Services "could face a $15 million projected shortage" in its next budget, the Contra Costa Times reports. County officials said Thursday that rising pharmaceutical costs, federal reimbursement restrictions and increased fees to provide treatment for the mentally ill have contributed to the "spiraling costs." Also, a decline in tobacco sales has reduced the amount of money from cigarette taxes that the county receives towards health services. County officials said the health department is their "biggest headache" again this year, although the energy crisis could potentially "eat a $2.5 million to $3.5 million hole" in the projected budget. Deputy county administrator Tony Enea blamed the county's woes on being forced to "support state mandated services for which the state provides inadequate funding." To "avert" a $10 million projected "hole" in last year's budget, county supervisors closed a home health care agency and shifted money from other departments (Cuff, Contra Costa Times, 2/9).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.