Riverside County Plans Clinic Cuts in Response to Major Budget Strain
Officials with the Riverside County Department of Public Health are preparing to make dramatic cuts in response to the county's mounting budget shortfall, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reports.
The Riverside County Board of Supervisors has proposed cutting the department's budget by $8.5 million, a reduction of 25%, in fiscal year 2011. The county faces a total budget deficit of more than $100 million for FY 2011.
Susan Harrington, director of the county's public health department, told the board that the budget cuts would force the agency to eliminate 65 jobs and discontinue immunization clinics.
Harrington said that the cuts also would compel the county's 10 family health clinics to reduce appointments to 122,000 per year. Last year, the department reduced appointments from 175,000 to 150,000 per year.
HarringtonÂ added thatÂ four family health clinics would scale back operation hours from 40 hours per week to 24 hours per week.
According to Harrington, the clinic changes could lead to increased strain on local emergency departments and other clinics.Â She added that the public health department could lose about $2.1 million in income as a result of the reduced appointments.
The board is expected to adopt a final budget by early August (Hines, Riverside Press-Enterprise, 4/6).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.