San Francisco Health Panel OKs Half of Immediate Spending Cuts
On Tuesday, San Francisco's Health Commission approved about half of the $33 million in cuts proposed by the director of the Department of Public Health, and more cuts are expected unless the city can increase revenue, San Francisco Chronicle reports.
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom (D) has asked all city departments to suggest spending cuts to help bridge an estimated $251 million budget deficit for fiscal year 2008-2009. Newsom asked the Department of Public Health, which accounts for about one-fifth of the city's total budget, to cut spending by $28.1 million.
Critics of the cuts say that they contradict the city's universal health access plan because many uninsured residents use the programs being cut.
The immediate cuts will be instituted on April 15 and include:
- Reducing mental health services;
- Cutting back the hours for an oral surgery clinic and operating rooms at San Francisco General Hospital;
- Ending a home care program for people with chronic illnesses; and
- Closing a workers' compensation clinic at San Francisco General.
The health commission also has signed off on cuts for the next fiscal year, including:
- Closing a wing at Laguna Honda Hospital;
- Limiting services for sex workers; and
- Reducing funding for the residential treatment of gunshot victims.
Unlike the immediate cuts, those slated for FY 2008-2009 will not take effect unless the San Francisco Board of Supervisors approves them (Knight, San Francisco Chronicle, 3/5). 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.