CONTRA COSTA: Health Department Faces $8.2M Shortfall
Contra Costa County's Health Services Department is facing a loss of $8.2 million next year that could "seriously cut funding for hospitals, nurses, mental health and substance abuse services," the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The department's shortfall would mean a $4.5 million fiscal loss for hospitals and clinics, with additional cuts including $1.8 million in the county health plan; $800,000 in mental health; another $800,000 in public health; and $300,000 in substance abuse programs. According to Health Services Director William Walker, the department has been struggling with financial woes for the past decade, but until now has "always found a way to cut costs or find enough extra funds to balance its budget." He told the Board of Supervisors that much of the loss is due to increased demand for services, higher medical and prescription drug costs and a drop in federal funding and tobacco tax revenues. Health department officials will return in May to provide the board with details on the impact of the proposed cuts (Johnson, 3/29).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.