Public Health Departments Adapting To Cut Costs

Jun 18, 2012

LEXINGTON, Ky. - Public health departments across the Commonwealth are struggling to cut back on costs while maintaining services. While the Fayette County Health Department has seen its budget shrink, residents can also turn to a primary care center.

Fayette County Health Department Commissioner of Health Rice Leach announced 25 layoffs just last week. Those numbers are in indication of how cuts are having immediate effects on public health departments in the state.

"Since March of 2011 when we had 18 million dollars in the budget, we dropped to 16 million this year, and we will drop to 14 million next year," he says.

The good news: Leach says mandated services dealing with community health are still in place. The bad news…

"Where the challenges have come is in maintaining opportunity for some of the direct clinical services like family planning and cancer screening," Leach says.

But Leach says Lexington has the benefit of HealthFirst, a primary care service closely aligned with the health department, which will eventually have an office on Southland Drive thanks to a federal grant.