Wish list devised by health chief Priority outlined for restoring cuts

October 28, 1992|By Greg Tasker | Greg Tasker,Staff Writer

Efforts by the county commissioners to restore funding to state-trimmed health programs may boil down to choosing vaccines for schoolchildren over hamburger inspections.

The commissioners yesterday were given a priority list for restoring dollars to health care and environmental health programs if funding becomes available. The priorities were made by health director Dr. Janet W. Neslen and her staff.

Steven D. Powell, the county budget director, asked the commissioners not to look at dollars but to look at the necessity of services such as school health programs, which provide hearing and vision screening for more than 10,000 students in kindergarten and the third, sixth and eighth grades.

The state plans to trim $60,884 from that program. Dr. Neslen and her staff have ranked that service as the No. 1 priority for reinstatement.

The requests, which include dollars to hire staff, come at a time when Carroll is working to trim about $5 million from its $119.3 million budget to help erase a $500 million state deficit. Mr. Powell has told the commissioners that several plans have been proposed to balance the budget, but officials haven't yet decided which will be used.

Among the other Health Department priorities were:

* $148,111 for sick care for children. Approximately 600 children who are uninsured or underinsured would be referred for sick care as needed.

* $79,948 for "area nurses" to serve people who are not using health-care services.

* $40,000 for a nurse to enable the AIDS program to case manage all AIDS patients, and increase counseling, testing and education.

The department also gave the commissioners a separate list for restoration of funds for environmental health programs, including $7,170 for water quality investigation to prevent outbreak and spread of diseases caused by water contamination, and $8,128 for food service facility sampling and inspection.

Environmental health services could stay intact if the county maintains current funding, raises some fees and levies new fees.

However, Commissioner President Donald I. Dell warned that "the public is tired of taxes, tired of fees."

The commissioners said they will do their own program rankings and submit their lists to Mr. Powell and his staff for review.

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