facebook linkedin twitter

Local Health Departments Face the Threat of Budget Cuts During Pandemic

June 29, 2020 by Jacob Pederson

The economic fallout of the COVID-19 outbreak is worsening the strain on city and county health departments that have been tasked with doing more with less resources since the 2008 recession, an updated report from the National Association of County and City Health Officials says.

Over the past decade, the researchers found, the budgets of smaller local health departments had remained relatively stagnant; at the same time, medium to large local health departments saw their budgets decrease, the report said.

The majority of local health departments continue to experience flat funding, with a total of 67% experiencing stagnant (52%) or reduced budgets (15%) in 2019. This is despite inflation, population growth, and the increasing complexity of public health challenges.

As a result, the authors said, between 2008 and 2019, the recession resulted in local health departments laying off 37,000 of their employees. 

However, these new data also show that these cuts seem to have bottomed out in 2016. Between 2016 and 2019, local health departments had finally started to rebuild, if slowly, adding 3% of that lost workforce back (6,000 jobs) nationwide.

“Overall, this new analysis points to what we continue to hear directly from local health departments across the country,” said Lori Tremmel Freeman, the association’s chief executive officer.

Freeman said this reality is particularly worrisome now, “as we face the unknowns of the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the local and state budgets that support so much of local health departments’ work.”

Local health departments are vital for collecting and broadcasting information on public health threats and leading the effort to keep the public safe from them. 

Some local health departments could see a modest increase in funding next year, but not enough to make up for last year’s losses, the report said.

“We know that some local health departments have had to furlough staff mid-pandemic in order to absorb budgetary pressures, and many others are planning steep cuts for their next fiscal year,” Freeman said. 

Overall, 175 million Americans are living in communities that experienced stagnant or reduced local health department funding in 2019, impacting over half of the U.S. population.

Nationwide, local health departments shed about 16% of their full-time workers since the start of the 2008 recession.

“As these individuals work on the front lines to keep us safe from the pandemic, that same virus is directly eroding the funding that keeps them operational,” Freeman said. “We must do more to provide long-term, sustainable, predictable funding to local health departments, both now and in the future, to stabilize and rebuild this critical system before the next crisis.”

Health

October 20, 2021
by Dan McCue
FDA Signs Off on Moderna, J&J Boosters, Mixing Vaccines

WASHINGTON - The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday said Americans who got either the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson... Read More

WASHINGTON - The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday said Americans who got either the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccine can now get a COVID-19 booster, and also say that those eligible for a booster don’t have to get the same brand as their initial... Read More

October 20, 2021
by Alexa Hornbeck
EPA Accelerates Efforts to Clean Up PFAS Pollution

This week, the Environmental Protection Agency released a new roadmap to accelerate efforts to protect Americans from per- and polyfluoroalkyl... Read More

This week, the Environmental Protection Agency released a new roadmap to accelerate efforts to protect Americans from per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, a class of toxic chemicals found in food packaging and other common commercial products that can cause severe health problems. "We are exploring ways for... Read More

October 20, 2021
by Alexa Hornbeck
Developer of Gene Editing Tool Discusses Ethics of Emerging Treatments

It was only nine years ago that researchers discovered a method for editing human genes using a specialized technology called... Read More

It was only nine years ago that researchers discovered a method for editing human genes using a specialized technology called the CRISPR-Cas9 tool.   CRISPR-Cas9 enables geneticists and medical researchers to edit parts of the genome by removing, adding or altering sections of the DNA sequence.  Ethicists,... Read More

October 20, 2021
by Alexa Hornbeck
Middle-Aged Women at Higher Risk of ‘Broken Heart’ Syndrome

LOS ANGELES - A new study from researchers from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center appears to confirm what many have long argued:... Read More

LOS ANGELES - A new study from researchers from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center appears to confirm what many have long argued: That a “broken heart” really can lead to long-term heart injury. “We know from other studies the heart-brain connection is very strong, but this is one... Read More

White House Details Plans to Vaccinate 28M Children Age 5-11

WASHINGTON (AP) — Children age 5 to 11 will soon be able to get a COVID-19 shot at their pediatrician's... Read More

WASHINGTON (AP) — Children age 5 to 11 will soon be able to get a COVID-19 shot at their pediatrician's office, local pharmacy and potentially even their school, the White House said Wednesday as it detailed plans for the expected authorization of the Pfizer shot for... Read More

Pig-to-Human Transplants Come a Step Closer with New Test

Scientists temporarily attached a pig's kidney to a human body and watched it begin to work, a small step in... Read More

Scientists temporarily attached a pig's kidney to a human body and watched it begin to work, a small step in the decades-long quest to one day use animal organs for life-saving transplants. Pigs have been the most recent research focus to address the organ shortage, but... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top