San Francisco Health Commission Approves Budget Cuts
The San Francisco Health Commission on Tuesday voted to approve budget cuts for the city Department of Public Health, the San Francisco Chronicle reports (Gordon, San Francisco Chronicle, 5/13). The $12.6 million in budget cuts could result in the closure of four mental health clinics and a reduction in hours at two primary care clinics and in nonmedical HIV/AIDS services (California Healthline, 5/13). Some patients also would be required to pay more for their prescription drugs if the budget cuts are approved (San Francisco Chronicle, 5/13). In addition, the plan would reduce the department's administrative and managerial staff, and an outside firm would receive a contract to provide laundry services at Laguna Honda Hospital (California Healthline, 5/13). The reductions are part of a plan proposed by Dr. Mitch Katz, chief of the San Francisco DPH, that would reduce his department's budget by $32 million during fiscal year 2004-2005 (San Francisco Chronicle, 5/13). Several of the cuts Katz suggested are similar to previous failed proposals to reduce adult dental, substance abuse and HIV/AIDS services; eliminate of 130 department positions, 43 of which are currently vacant; and introduce copayments of $5 per generic drug prescription and $10 per brand-name drug prescription for people who currently qualify for free medications but have annual incomes of more than 100% of the federal poverty level. If the commission approves the latest proposal, Mayor Gavin Newsom (D) then will decide whether to include the plans in his city budget proposal, which he will submit to the Board of Supervisors by June 1 (California Healthline, 5/13).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.