Local Health Departments Facing State Budget Cut

A recent budget analysis of the Infectious Disease and Environmental Health Administration (IDEHA) of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, discussed changes to Core Public Health Services funding that are currently proposed in the Budget Reconciliation and Financing Act (BRFA) of 2012.  The BRFA recommends flat funding of Local Health Departments (LHDs) in FY 2013.  From the budget analysis:

The Governor’s fiscal 2013 budget is balanced in part through provisions of the Budget Reconciliation and Financing Act (BRFA) of 2012. For fiscal 2013 through 2017, Section 15 of the BRFA of 2012 includes a provision which specifies that the Governor is not required to include an appropriation in the budget for any program or item in an amount that exceeds the fiscal 2012 appropriation for that program. Subsequently, Section 15 is being used as a general provision to grant mandate relief to nine programs in the budget – including the funding for Core Public Health Services – for fiscal 2013. This provision would reduce the mandated appropriation levels for Core Public Health Services to align spending with the fiscal 2011 level, resulting in a $1,894,001 reduction.

The Department of Legislative Services recommended the following:

Since the legislature can make this cut without changing the underlying statute, the Department of Legislative Services (DLS) recommends striking the contingent reduction language and reducing funding for Core Public Health Services by $1,894,001.

The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene concurred with this recommendation.  The full DHMH budget hearing response can be found here.

Carroll County Health Officer Larry Leitch testified at the budget hearing in support of local health departments.  MACo also provided written testimony highlighting the vital role of LHDs and funding concerns.  From the MACo testimony:

Of grave concern for LHDs is the significant reduction in the base funding level to $37.3 million in FY 2010, which has been carried through to the FY 13 proposed budget, and the new interpretation with respect to inflationary adjustments which provide for only one year’s growth in inflation and population, instead of cumulative growth.

MACO recommended the following with respect to LHD funding:

  1. Funding to LHDs should be restored and a new base established to ensure funding levels are equal with the needs of constituencies across the State
  2. Legislation should be introduced to clarify that inflationary increases should provide for cumulative growth, not one year’s growth in inflation and population

MACo’s also offered recommendations to address compensation related adjustments in the Core Funding formula.

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