SRHD Proposed Budget for 2012 Reduced by $2 Million
Reduction in services and staff necessary to achieve balanced budget
SPOKANE, Wash. – Oct 7, 2011 – Challenged by decreased funding and increased costs, Spokane Regional Health District’s (SRHD) proposed 2012 budget outlines a reduction in services and staff to make up for a $2 million budgetary shortfall.
Since April of this year, SRHD executive leadership has closely followed the state’s dismal budget forecasts and objectively exhausted every avenue to try and preserve programs and staff. Rising operational costs—73 percent are employee salaries and benefits—were too steep for the health district to cover with its reserve budget.
The total proposed budget for 2012 is $21.4 million budget. This is an 8.7 percent decrease from the 2011 budget of $23.5 million.
Suggested cuts include components of SRHD’s Children with Special Health Care Needs (CSHCN) program and elimination of the SRHD Water Laboratory. Staff from these programs are part of a proposed 7.6 percent decrease in full-time equivalent (FTE) employees.
“The public health system is under considerable strain. Funding sources are stagnant—if not already gone—and it is forcing our agency to continually pare down services,” said SRHD health officer, Dr. Joel McCullough. “Some of the programs that are being impacted are those that serve the most vulnerable populations including children and families.
Continued Dr. McCullough, “We must find ways to communicate the critical nature of these services. This will not be easy in light of the current economy and competing demands, but we must try. The services public health provides are too critical and the needs of the populations we serve are too great. We are working to prevent disease and injury, to protect the health of people in our community, to decrease the cost of health services through prevention.”
The board’s Budget and Finance committee preliminary approved the budget yesterday. It will now be considered by the SRHD Board of Health at its regularly scheduled meeting on Oct. 27, 2011 at 12:30 p.m. in the SRHD Auditorium at 1101 West College Ave. If approved by the SRHD Board of Health, the proposed budget will take effect January 2012.
For impacted employees who are qualified and apply, priority will be given to them in filling vacant positions within other areas of the agency.
“We have worked hard to minimize the impact of our shrinking revenues on employees and the services we provide to the community,” said SRHD administrator Torney Smith. “In past years, we have seen success in moving impacted employees into vacant positions and are hopeful for a similar outcome this year.”
For additional information on the 2012 budget, please read the 2012 Budget Quick Facts and FAQs. Or visit the SRHD website at www.srhd.org. Despite funding woes, the site also offers comprehensive, updated information about Spokane Regional Health District and its triumphs in making Spokane a safer and healthier community.