San Francisco Board of Supervisors To Raise $6 Million To Restore Some Health Services
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors on Tuesday voted to "fully or partially restore" some health-related services slated for funding reductions or closure under Mayor Gavin Newsom's (D) budget proposal, the San Francisco Chronicle reports (Gordon, San Francisco Chronicle, 12/15).
The San Francisco Health Commission last month approved a budget plan that would reduce funding for the San Francisco Department of Public Health by $15.5 million over the next 18 months. The budget cuts would reduce funding for services to people with mental illnesses and support for residents with HIV/AIDS and result in layoffs for some nurses who visit patients with chronic illnesses.
Newsom proposed the budget plan in response to voters' rejection of two tax measures on the Nov. 2 ballot -- supported by Newsom -- that would have raised funds to maintain some services.
Newsom's budget plan would save the city an estimated $97 million over the next 18 months. City law requires the budget to be balanced, and the mayor has the authority to enact midyear funding reductions unilaterally.
One of the programs targeted for elimination under Newsom's plan is the city's public health nursing program, which provides care to chronically ill patients in the city. About 23 nursing positions would be eliminated, resulting in annual savings of about $1.3 million (California Healthline, 12/9).
The proposal also calls for a reduction in staffing levels for the Tom Waddell Health Center, a clinic for homeless people (California Healthline, 6/14).
On Tuesday, with Newsom's "full endorsement," supervisors approved a plan to raise $6 million in additional funds by increasing restaurant inspection fees, eliminating free bottled water for city employees, improving efforts to switch city residents from city to federal aid programs, delaying some equipment purchases, placing a stricter cap on city employees' overtime and reducing public funding for the San Francisco Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Chronicle reports.
The additional revenue will be used to retain all funding for the Waddell clinic. The funds also will be used to reduce proposed funding cuts to other neighborhood health centers and support services for people living with HIV/AIDS, as well as for the public health nursing program (San Francisco Chronicle, 12/15).