State budget cuts cause problems for health departments - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

State budget cuts cause problems for health departments

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November 19, 2003

Pearson - The Atkinson County Health Department is a critical resource for Sue Yawn's family. "It's very important to us because without it, my baby wouldn't be able to get any of his formula," said Yawn.

They depend on the staff here for all their medical needs. "Shots, check up's, medicines, everything," said Yawn.

But state budget cuts are forcing the department to close its doors one day a month. "This means that people who have a difficult time receiving the proper health care are going to have even more of a difficult time," said Pat Brannen of the Southeast Health District.

And that's not just bad news for patients like Sue. It means a five percent pay cut for the staff. "We're really concerned because its our jobs we're talking about, but we think its better to do it this way that have even one person lose their job completely," said Peggy James, Nurse Manager.

But the cuts don't stop with the furloughs. Several health programs could also be canceled. "Babies Can't Wait, Babies Born Healthy, our Adolescent and Youth Development, those are all state wide programs that are proposed to be cut," said Brannen.

Health care officials say even though these cuts will reduce the quantity of health care, the quality will remain high. And they'll go the extra mile to keep families like Sue's healthy and happy.

posted at 3:30 by ashley.harper@walb.com