Placer County May Eliminate $5.6 Million From Health and Human Services Department Budget
Placer County officials may eliminate $5.6 million from the county Health and Human Services Department budget through decreased funds for staff, health care programs for seniors and low-income residents; treatment for former jail inmates with mental illnesses; and teen pregnancy prevention programs, the Sacramento Bee reports. Department Director Raymond Merz recommended the reductions in a budget proposal released last week in response to decreased state revenues, increased business costs and a rise in demand for services. The budget proposal includes plans to close the Mentally Ill Offender Program, which helps treat and train former jail inmates with mental illnesses, and to end the Medi-Cal Managed Care pilot program, which links 7,000 beneficiaries to area health care providers. The county lost state funds for both programs; the elimination of the programs would save the county about $750,000. The budget proposal also would eliminate $1.1 million for temporary employees to staff 24-hour care facilities; $1 million for employee salaries through 75 to 100 unfilled vacancies at the department; $750,000 for nonessential travel, instruction, facility improvements and administrative positions; $128,000 for teen pregnancy prevention programs; and $95,000 for counseling services in the Women, Infants and Children nutrition program. Department officials in the next few months plan to develop a proposal to save an additional $1 million through more budget reductions -- which could affect health care services and public health nurse home visits -- shared services and higher fees. "No one likes service reductions such as these, but if we don't take action soon, we could find the budget gap growing by half a million dollars a month," Merz said (Campos, Sacramento Bee, 6/14).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.