San Diego County Budget Proposal Includes 4% Increase for Health Services
The San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency budget will increase by 4% in fiscal year 2006 to $1.82 billion, accounting for nearly half of the county's $4.14 billion budget, according to a proposal released on Thursday, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
The $70 million increase would go toward negotiated salary and benefit increases, larger caseloads, increased medical services for low-income county residents and a new system to monitor welfare services.
Terry Hogan, finance director of the county HHSA, said drafting the spending plan was challenging because of a lack of discretionary spending. Most of the funding for health and human services comes from the state and federal government, which requires it be spent on mandatory programs.
Under the proposal, the budget for the county Aging and Independence Services would increase by 11% from $245 million this year to $272 million in 2006. AIS officials said they would increase in-home supportive services spending next year by $18.9 million.
In addition, the proposed budget would eliminate 78 mental health services jobs as care is shifted to the private service providers. All but five of the positions currently are vacant.
The overall county budget increased by 1.5% over fiscal year 2005. The San Diego County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday will review the proposal and hearings will begin in June. A final budget is scheduled to be adopted in August (Chacon/Heller, San Diego Union-Tribune, 5/6).