Flu Pushes Santa Clara County Leaders To Rethink Health Cuts
The H1N1 flu outbreak has prompted some members of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors to seek to preserve jobs in the county public health department in next year's budget, the San Jose Mercury News reports.
To help close the county's $273 million budget deficit, the department had been asked to cut $11 million from its $81 million budget in part by reducing its nursing staff from 65 to 29 positions.
Now, some supervisors are pushing to address the deficit in other ways.
Santa Clara County officials will release a budget proposal today (Hull, San Jose Mercury News, 5/1).
Outbreak Stressing Other Counties
The outbreak has taxed county health departments in California and throughout the country as department staff work to respond to public concerns. Moreover, the increased demand for public health services comes on top of recent budget and staff cuts.
The National Association of County and City Health Officials estimates that local public health departments nationwide have experienced $300 million in funding cuts and cut 7,000 staff positions in 2008 and more staffing cuts could lie ahead.
For example, the Sacramento County Division of Public Health could lose nearly half of its funding from the county in the coming months as the county works to close its budget gap (Calvan, Sacramento Bee, 5/3).
Broadcast CoverageOn Friday, KQED's "The California Report" included a segment examining the state of the public health laboratory network in California as it works to address an upswing in testing requests and funding and staffing shortages (Varney, "The California Report," KQED, 5/1). 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.