DANVILLE, W.Va. — County health departments across West Virginia are gearing up to operate with significantly less funding. The money each department receives from the state budget is being cut by 25 percent.
Wanda Doss first came to the Boone County Health Department as a teenager. This is where she discovered she was pregnant and decades later relies on affordable care for her granddaughter.
“The staff here is like family,” Doss said.
Doss is concerned for her family because under the new state budget, the department would lose more than $100,000 in state funding. That is on top of the $50,000 it is no longer receiving in coal tax revenue from the county commission.
Administrator Julie Miller administrator said to make up the shortfall, the small operation is not replacing two former employees.
“Our stomachs are all knotted up,” Miller said. “It’s concerning for everyone.”
The Boone department is not reducing any services offered, but Miller said you can bet things are going to be stretched thin.
“Reportable diseases may go unchecked, perhaps other things won’t be reported as they should be,” Miller said.
There are several efforts right now in the Legislature to soften the blow to county health departments.The state’s budget will be addressed toward the end of the session. There also are other ideas being floated around. A report indicates West Virginia could save $12.5 million or more by consolidating dozens of county health departments into nine multicounty districts. The report was released by West Virginia University’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research during a news conference with the state Department of Health and Human Resources.
The AP contributed to this report
WCHS and WVAH News provided this story through a partnership with the Logan Banner. Online: http://wchstv.com