SAN FRANCISCO GENERAL: Board Leery about Spending Cuts
Although Dr. Mitch Katz, chief of San Francisco's Health Department, assured the Board of Supervisors at San Francisco General Hospital that cost-cutting measures would not endanger patient care, the group remained less than convinced, expressing concerns over proposals to close the outpatient pharmacy and scale back "acute-care" beds for psychiatric patients, the San Francisco Examiner reports. During his "State of the City Public Health" address to the board, Katz noted the "severe financial pinch" that state and federal budget cuts have created, but remained optimistic about the situation, explaining that revamping services could "prove beneficial." "Despite our fiscal challenges, we will never abandon our goal of improving health," he said. The health department, which has the largest budget of all city departments, is currently tagged with a $10 million deficit and will likely drop $45 million into the red next year if the present level of service remains. Katz hopes Mayor Willie Brown (D) will budget another $20 million for the upcoming fiscal year and plans to generate an additional $25 million by overhauling services (Gordon, 5/2). He also wants to increase emphasis on prevention. "I cut deeply into the budget to fund prevention. I felt we must make a statement. We will not be able to survive budget reductions in the future without changes," he said (Epstein, San Francisco Chronicle, 5/2).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.