More than half of all local health departments reduced or ended at least one program and 11 percent entirely eliminated at least one program, according to a survey by the National Association of County and City Health Officials.
From July 2010 to June 2011, certain programs were cut more than others. For example, 21 percent of local health departments reduced or ended maternal and child health services; 20 percent targeted other personal health services, which include home health care and mental health services, or emergency preparedness; and 18 percent reduced or ended environmental health or immunization programs.
At the same time, the overall local health department workforce shed 5,400 jobs. More than four out of every 10 local health departments lost at least one employee. Factoring in reduced hours and mandatory furloughs brought the percentage of those departments experiencing some type of negative job impact to 52 percent. In comparison, only 19 percent added staff, totalling 1,800 positions.
Finally, 45 percent of departments reported reduced operating budgets compared with the previous year, and 52 percent expect cuts next year.
For more, visit www.naccho.org.