Health District Announces More Service Reductions

Health District Announces More Service Reductions

Feb 02, 2009

Revenue shortage forces cuts in public health nursing for high-risk infants

More public health programs for some of Spokane County's most vulnerable people are being reduced or eliminated. Due to budget reductions, the General Field Public Health Nursing Program has been eliminated. This program had accepted the following types of referrals:

  • Failure to thrive 
  • Parenting behavior problems
  • High-risk Child Protective Services (CPS) cases
  • Children in foster placement
  • Prenatally drug exposed infants not previously followed in the First Steps Program

This cut comes on the heels of the elimination of the Health District's Early Intervention Program which served high-risk CPS clients. Also cut were public health nursing services to individuals at Isabella House (other than for pregnant women and their infants enrolled in the First Steps Program); and public health nursing services to women and their children at Children's ARK.

"We regret having to close out the General Field Nursing Program, but years of declining resources left us no choice." said Elaine Conley, Director of the Health District's Community and Family Services programs. "We are concerned about the impact these budget reductions will have on the lives of the families we will no longer be able to serve."

Also eliminated this year was the Alcohol and Drug Assessment and Outreach Program, a service that worked to find treatment for those who may be addicted to alcohol and/or drugs. In 2007, the program provided 1,742 drug and alcohol assessments. Additionally a top management position was cut, one mid-management position was cut, two vacant positions were not filled, and equipment scheduled to be purchased was cancelled. Over $32 million dollars in cuts in public health services and staffing are occurring at local health districts and departments across Washington State.