Health department told to cut 10 percent from 2014 budget

Cuts part of $13M in proposed cuts in the city’s budget

SAN ANTONIO - The city’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2014 includes $631,865 in cuts from the health department.

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That amount is only part of the $13 million in cuts proposed by the city.

Health department officials said they were given the target of finding 10 percent, or approximately $1 million, in cuts in their budget.

Director Thomas Schlenker said the department has been able to find efficiencies by eliminating overhead.

"Up to this point, at least, most of the cuts are tolerable in that they are mostly efficiencies that we can achieve by working smarter and being clearer about what our objectives are,” Schlenker said.

The health department cuts include a reduction in vaccine purchases, a move being made due to the decrease in demand from the city for vaccines.

The budget proposal also includes the elimination of a senior public health physician and two facility and maintenance workers, which would save the city more than $220,000.

The department is also cutting more than $235,000 by eliminating four food inspector supervisors.

Another $29,509 will be cut by closing the Goodwill Immunization Center.

The closure will cost the city more than $75,000 in revenue, but Schlenker believes the new Frank Garrett Immunization Clinic will be able to make up the difference.

Schlenker said the federal government has helped ease the pain of making cuts year after year.

“Medicaid, which is our national insurance program is now funding us directly for prevention services,” he said. “That will be putting on additional $10 million into our budget over the next several years, $10 million per year, so it's going to make a big difference.”

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