San Francisco’s Ryan White Funds Cut By $2.2 Million, Straining Already Tight Budget
San Francisco's Department of Public Health will receive $33.5 million in federal Ryan White CARE Act funds for the yearly financial cycle that begins March 1 -- $2.2 million, or 6.2%, less than it received last year -- placing the city's already strained HIV/AIDS services budget under greater pressure, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Officials at the federal Health Resources and Services Administration, which oversees the disbursement of the nearly $583 million in Ryan White funds, could not be reached for comment on the reduction in funding. Funding awards -- which cover services ranging from housing and transportation to health care and treatment for illegal drug use -- are determined in part by a set formula based on population and the number of HIV and AIDS cases in each of the 51 local jurisdictions that receive funding, and part of the funds are distributed through a competitive grant program. The city's Ryan White CARE Council, which distributes the funds locally, could decide as early as today the programs that will be reduced or eliminated as a result of the cut backs. "It will be a very painful meeting," Mike Shriver, an HIV/AIDS policy adviser to Mayor Willie Brown (D) said.
The city is expected to look to other federal, state and local sources to make up the deficit. However, the federal, state and city governments are all facing budget constraints (Gordon, San Francisco Chronicle, 2/23). Brown has asked all city departments to reduce expenditures by 10% in their fiscal year 2002-2003 budgets, which means that the city's public health department would cut $1.1 million designated for the city's HIV/AIDS office. If such a cut were made, the city's HIV/AIDS hotline, housing subsidy program, support services and psychosocial services would be affected, according to the San Francisco AIDS Foundation ("HIV Policy Watch," San Francisco AIDS Foundation, February 2002). Donald Frazier, a member of the Ryan White council, said that on top of the proposed city cuts, the federal reduction will "reverberate" throughout the city. "It's going to be a devastating hit. There's no doubt that programs are going to be closed. Now, it's a matter of which ones," Frazier said. San Francisco shares its Ryan White funding with Marin and San Mateo counties. San Jose and Santa Rosa are also losing federal funding, while Oakland, which shares funds with Alameda and Contra Costa counties, will receive an increase of 3.1%, or $210,802 (San Francisco Chronicle, 2/23)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.